Page:Seventeen lectures on the study of medieval and modern history and kindred subjects.djvu/17

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Purpose of the Foundation.

completion of the design may have been determined by others. It is possible that Walpole or Stanhope may have been the adviser; it is by no means improbable that bishop Robinson, who has been looked upon as the founder of the eighteenth century school of English diplomacy, may have been consulted as to those details of the plan which were intended to afford to the students of the Universities the means of a diplomatic education. I am sorry to say that I have been unable to find any satisfactory evidence on the subject. I have indeed heard it positively affirmed that bishop Robinson drew up the scheme which took effect the year after his- death; and I should have been glad to believe it was so, for bishop Robinson was a benefactor of the Church to which I owe my own education, and the College which has munificently contributed a large portion of the endowment of the professorship. But until more evidence is attainable, I cannot speak with confidence. The influence of either Stanhope or Robinson Would account for the particular intention with which the foundation was completed; whilst that of Walpole, if it were used, would hardly have taken any other than a utilitarian direction. It is to the prominence with which this particular intention is put forward that, in conjunction I think with a general distaste to accept a benefaction from the duke of Brunswick, the ungracious reception which the new foundation met with at Oxford is to be ascribed. For the University not only acknowledged the receipt of the king's letter in a most contemptuous way, forwarding their letter of thanks by a bedell, but when, by due pressure and by the example of Cambridge, compelled to send a formal answer by a deputation to the king, clothed it in such words as showed that the introduction of the new study was looked on as an unwarranted interference with the educational government of the place; clearly it was no part of the intention of Oxford in 1724 to educate able servants for the house of Hanover.

For the study of History Oxford had hitherto been no unkindly school. The period of literary activity which had succeeded the Restoration had been greatly indebted to Oxford scholars. The names of Bishops Nicholson, Tanner, and