The American Cyclopædia (1879)/Cambridge, University of
CAMBRIDGE, University of, an English seat of learning, of very ancient origin. It is probable that it was a place of resort for students as early as the 7th century. The date of its incorporation as a university is 15 Henry III. (1231), and it received its first formal charter of privileges from Edward I. (1291). Fuller charters were granted in the reigns of Edward II., Edward III., Richard II., and Henry IV.; and more ample privileges were given by Henry V., Edward IV., and Henry VII. Elizabeth granted an enlarged charter in 1562, and parliament in 1572 confirmed this and all preceding grants, with an act of incorporation under the name of the “chancellor, masters, and scholars of the university of Cambridge.” Queen Victoria confirmed the charter and privileges by order in council, July 31, 1858. The university consists of the following 17 colleges: St. Peter's, founded by Hugh de Balsham, bishop of Ely, in 1257; Clare Hall, by Elizabeth de Burgo, countess of Clare, in 1326; Pembroke Hall, by the countess of Pembroke in 1347; Gonville and Caius, by Edmund Gonville in 1348, increased by John Caius in 1558; Trinity Hall, by W. Bateman in 1350; Corpus Christi, by two Cambridge guilds in 1352; King's, by Henry VI. in 1441; Queens', by Margaret of Anjou in 1448, refounded by Elizabeth Widville in 1465; St. Catherine's, by Robert Woodlark in 1473; Jesus, by John Alcock, bishop of Ely, in 1496; Christ's, by Henry VI. in 1456, refounded by the countess of Richmond and Derby in 1505; St. John's, by the countess of Richmond and Derby in 1511; Magdalene, by Baron Audley in 1519; Trinity, by Henry VIII. in 1546; Emmanuel, by Sir Walter Mildmay in 1584; Sidney Sussex, by the countess of Sussex in 1598; Downing, by Sir George Downing in 1800. Each college is a corporate body, bound by its own statutes, but is likewise subject to the general laws of the university. Each of the 17 colleges furnishes members both for the legislative and executive branches of the government of the university. The former branch consists of a senate, which is divided into two houses, the regents' and the non-regents' house, and of the council of the senate, by which every university grace must be sanctioned before it can be brought before the senate. No degree is ever conferred without a grace for that purpose. The council consists of the chancellor, the vice-chancellors, four heads of colleges, four professors of the university, and eight other members of the senate. The executive officers of the university are a chancellor, a vice chancellor, a high steward, a commissary, the assessor, two proctors, a librarian, a registrar, two moderators, syndics, or officers appointed for special cases, two pro-proctors, three esquire bedels, and various inferior officers. The university sends to the house of commons two members, who are chosen by the collective body of the senate. The public professors are: the Lady Margaret's professor of divinity; the regius professors of divinity, civil law, physic, modern history, Hebrew, Greek; a professor of Arabic, and a reader who is appointed by the lord almoner; the Lucasian professor of mathematics; professors of moral philosophy or casuistry, chemistry, anatomy, botany, and geology; the Plumian professor of astronomy and experimental philosophy; the Lowndean professor of astronomy and geometry; the Norrisian professor of divinity; the Jacksonian professor of natural and experimental philosophy; the Downing professors of the laws of England and of medicine; the professors of mineralogy, political economy, and music; and the Disney professors of archæology, founded in 1831 by John Disney. Besides these regular professorships, there are various endowed lectureships. A board of mathematical studies was established in 1848, a board of classical studies in 1854, and a board of medical studies in the same year. The revenues of the separate colleges are large, and are derived from endowments and fees; but those of the university are small, and hardly exceed £5,500 a year. The public income of the university is chiefly from the proceeds of the rectory of Burwell, from matriculation and other fees, and from the profits of the Pitt or university press. The professors are paid from the university funds, or by the government, or from estates left for that purpose. The senate appoints some of the professors, the crown others, and still others are elected by special bodies. The mode of admission on the boards of a college is either by examination, or more usually through a graduate's recommendatory certificate, accompanied by a deposit, called caution money. The students are divided into four classes: noblemen, who pay £50 caution money; fellow commoners, who pay £25, and who receive their name from their privilege of dining (having their “commons”) at the table of the fellows; pensioners, who pay £15, and form the great body of the students not on the foundation; and sizars, who pay but £10, and are students whose poverty prevents their taking advantage of many of the privileges of the university, though they are not shut out from any of its educational facilities. The sizars were once obliged to perform the most menial offices, but for many years this custom has been abolished. The matriculation fees for these classes of students are respectively £16, £11, £5 10s., and £1 5s. There are various degrees of payment for tuition, according to the degree and condition of the members, and slightly differing in the several colleges. The annual unavoidable average expenses of an undergraduate or student are about £70. The terms of the university are three, viz.: Michaelmas, or October, begins Oct. 1, and ends Dec. 16; Lent, or January, begins Jan. 13, and ends on the Friday before Palm Sunday; Easter, or midsummer, begins on the Friday after Easter day, and ends on the Friday after commencement day, which is always the first Tuesday in July. The degrees conferred by the university are those of bachelor of arts, master of arts, bachelor and doctor in divinity, bachelor and doctor of laws, bachelor and doctor in physic, and bachelor and doctor in music. For the requirements in taking these degrees, see University. The examinations take place in the Lent term in each year, are conducted by the moderators and by examiners appointed by the senate, and the course of study preparatory to the degree of B. A. comprises the principal branches of learning. The first university or “previous” examination, technically called the “little go,” takes place in the Lent term of the second year from that in which the student commences his academi- cal residence, the subjects of examination be- ing one of the four Gospels or the Acts of the Apostles in the original Greek, Paley's “Evidences of Christianity,” and one each of the Greek and of the Latin classics. The examination of bachelors of arts extends over 22 days; that of candidates for mathematical honors, technically called the mathematical tripos, lasts eight, and that in classical learning, or the classical tripos, five days. Examinations in moral and natural sciences (moral sciences and natural sciences tripos) have likewise been in operation since 1857. At the close of the examination, a select number, 30 at least, are recommended to the approbation of the proctors, and their names are classed in three divisions, viz.: wranglers, senior optimes, and junior optimes, the highest of all being the senior wrangler for the year. The candidates are then admitted to their degrees by the vice chancellor, after they have taken the oath of allegiance and supremacy, and of observing the statutes of the university, and having also declared that they are bona fide members of the church of England. There are 430 fellowships, tenable for life, but in most cases conditioned upon taking holy orders within a limited period. Their value varies from £100 to £300 per annum. There are also salaries attached to the offices of dean, bursar, steward, &c.; and there are prizes, medals, and scholarships of different values. Since the days of Newton, Cambridge has been considered more particularly the chosen seat of mathematical science, but the tendency to make it a stronghold of learning in all the various branches of science has been increasing of late years. Among the eminent men who have studied at Cambridge are Chaucer, Bacon, Coke, Harvey, Spenser, Ben Jonson, Milton, Dryden, Newton, Pitt, and Byron. Among the famous teachers have been Archbishop Whitgift, Bishop Wilkins, Isaac Barrow, and Richard Bentley.—Many of the principal buildings and offices of the various colleges are of remarkable beauty, and above all the Gothic chapel of King's college.
The public buildings of the university consist of the senate house, the university library, the schools, the university or Pitt press, the observatory, the botanical garden, the anatomical, geological, and mineralogical museums, and the celebrated Fitzwilliam museum, for the establishment of which Lord Fitzwilliam bequeathed to the university the annual interest of £100,000 South sea annuities, and which contains a collection of books, paintings, and engravings.
The university library has greatly increased, mainly through the munificence of George I. and II., and the number of printed volumes is now about 230,000. There are also about 3,000 manuscripts, which contain many remarkable works. By the copyright act it is entitled to a copy of every volume, map, and print published in the United Kingdom. The library of Trinity college contains nearly 50,000 volumes, including MSS. in the handwriting of Milton, Newton's copy of his Principia, and Dr. Gale's Arabic manuscripts; an addition of 4,300 volumes by a bequest of Archdeacon Hare is especially rich in German literature. The library of Corpus Christi college, St. John's college library, and the Pepysian library (so called after Samuel Pepys) also contain many ancient manuscripts and curious books. There are also in the university a hospital founded by the will of Dr. Addenbrooke in 1753, and three learned associations, viz.: a philosophical, an antiquarian, and an architectural society.—See “Five Years in an English University,” by C. A. Bristed (New York, 1852; new ed., 1872), and “Lectures on the University of Cambridge, England,” by W. Everett (Cambridge, Mass., 1865).