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or a prejudice, he claimed the liberty and subsisted by the labours of his pen: the inequality of his voluminous works is explained and excused by his alternately writing for himself, for the booksellers, and for posterity; and if a severe critic would reduce him to a single folio, that relic, like the books of the Sybils, would become still more valuable. A calm and lofty spectator of the religious tempest, the philosopher of Rotterdam_condemned with equal firmness the persecutions of Louis the fourteenth, and the republican maxims of the Calvinists, their vain prophecies, and the intolerant bigotry which sometimes vexed his solitary retreat. In reviewing the controversies of the times, he turned against each other the arguments of the disputants; successively wielding the arms of the Catholics and Protestants, he proves that neither the way of authority, nor the way of examination, can afford the multitude any test of religious truth; and dexterously concludes that custom and education must be the sole grounds of popular belief. The ancient paradox of Plutarch, that atheism is less pernicious than superstition, acquires a tenfold vigour, when it is adorned with the colours of his wit, and pointed with the acuteness of his logic. His Critical Dictionary is a vast repository of facts and opinions; and he balances the false religions in his sceptical scales, till the opposite quantities (if I may use the language of algebra) annihilate each other. The wonderful power which he so boldly exercised, of assembling doubts and objections, had tempted him jocosely to assume the title of the νεφεληγερετα Ζευς, the cloudcompelling Jove; and in a conversation with the ingenious abbé (afterwards cardinal) de Polignac, he freely disclosed his universal Pyrrhonism. “I am most truly (said Bayle) a Protestant; for I protest indifferently against all systems and all sects."
The academical resentment which I may possibly have provoked, will prudently spare this plain narrative of my studies, or rather of my idleness, and of
the unfortunate event which shortened the term of my residence at Oxford. But it may be suggested, that my father was unlucky in the choice of a society and the chance of a tutor. It will perhaps be asserted, that in the lapse of forty years many improvements have taken place in the college and in the university. I am not unwilling to believe that some tutors might have been found more active than Dr Waldegrave, and less contemptible than Dr ****. At a more recent period many students have been attracted by the merit and reputation of sir William Scott, then a tutor in University college, and now conspicuous in the profession of the civil law: my personal acquaintance with that gentleman has inspired me with a just esteem for his abilities and knowledge; and I am assured that his lectures on history would compose, were they given to the public, a most valuable treatise. Under the auspices of the late deans a more regular discipline has been introduced, as I am told, at Christ Church; a course of classical and philosophical studies is proposed, and even pursued, in that numerous semi
*This was written on the information Mr Gibbon had received, and the observation he had made, previous to his late residence at Lausanne. During his last visit to England, he had an opportunity of seeing at Sheffield Place some young men of the college above alluded to; he had great satisfaction in conversing with them, made many inquiries respecting their course of study, applauded the discipline of Christ Church, and the liberal attention shewn by the dean to those whose only recommendation was their merit. Had Mr Gibbon lived to revise this work, I am sure he would have mentioned the name of Dr Jackson with the highest commendation and also that of Dr Bagot, bishop of St Asaph, whose attention to the duties of his office while he was dean of Christ Church was unremitted, and to whom perhaps that college is more indebted for the good discipline introduced there, than to any other person whatever. There are other colleges at Oxford, with whose discipline my friend was unacquainted, to which, without doubt, he would willingly have allowed their due praise, particularly Brazen
nary; learning has been made a duty, a pleasure, and even a fashion; and several young gentlemen do honour to the college in which they have been educated. According to the will of the donor, the profit
Nose and Oriel colleges; the former under the care of Dr Cleaver, bishop of Chester, the latter under that of Dr Eveleigh. It is still greatly to be wished that the general expense, or rather extravagance, of young men at our English universities may be more effectually restrained. The expense in which they are permitted to indulge, is inconsistent not only with a necessary degree of study, but with those habits of morality which should be promoted, by all means possible, at an early period of life. An academical education in England is at present an object of alarm and terror to every thinking parent of moderate fortune. It is the apprehension of the expense, of the dissipation, and other evil consequences which arise from the want of proper restraint at our own universities, that forces a number of our English youths to those of Scotland, and utterly excludes many from any sort of academical instruction. If a charge be true, which I have heard insisted on, that the heads of our colleges in Oxford and Cambridge are vain of having under their care chiefly men of opulence, who may be supposed exempt from the necessity of economical control, they are indeed highly censurable; since the mischief of allowing early habits of expense and dissipation is great in various respects, even to those possessed of large property; and the most serious evil from this indulgence must happen to youths of humbler fortune, who certainly form the majority of students both at Oxford and Cambridge. S.
Since these observations appeared, a sermon, with very copious notes, has been published by the reverend Dr Parr, wherein he complains of the scantiness of praise bestowed on those who were educated at the universities of England. I digressed merely to speak of the few heads of colleges of whom I had at that time heard, or with whom I was acquainted, and I did not allude to any others educated there. I have further to observe, that I have not met with any person who lived at the time to which Mr Gibbon alludes, who was not of opinion that his representation, at least of his own college, was just; and such was the opinion of that
of the second part of lord Clarendon's History has been applied to the establishment of a riding-school, that the polite exercises might be taught, I know not with what success, in the university. The Vinerian professorship is of far more serious importance; the laws of his country are the first science of an English. man of rank and fortune, who is called to be a magistrate, and may hope to be a legislator. This judicious institution was coldly entertained by the graver doctors, who complained (I have heard the complaint) that it would take the young people from their books: but Mr Viner's benefaction is not unprofitable, since it has at least produced the excellent commentaries of sir William Blackstone.
After carrying me to Putney, to the house of his friend Mr Mallet, by whose philosophy I was rather scandalized than reclaimed, it was necessary for my father to form a new plan of education, and to devise some method which, if possible, might effect the cure of my spiritual malady. After much debate it was determined, from the advice and personal experience of Mr Eliot, (now lord Eliot,) to fix me, during some years, at Lausanne in Switzerland. Mr Frey, a Swiss gentleman of Basil, undertook the conduct of the journey: we left London the 19th of June, crossed the sea from Dover to Calais, travelled post through several provinces of France, by the direct road of St Quentin, Rheims, Langres, and Besançon, and arrived the 30th of June at Lausanne, where I was immedi
accomplished, ingenious, and zealous friend of the university, the late Mr Windham; but every man, acquainted with the former and present state of the university, will acknowledge the vast improvements which have of late been introduced into the plan and conduct of education in the university.
*The author of a Life of Bacon, which has been rated above its value; of some forgotten poems and plays; and of the pathetic ballad of William and Margaret. His tenets were deistical; perhaps a stronger term might have been used. S.
ately settled under the roof and tuition of Mr Pavilliard, a Calvinist minister.
The first marks of my father's displeasure rather astonished than afflicted me: when he threatened to banish, and disown, and disinherit, a rebellious son, I cherished a secret hope that he would not be able or willing to effect his menaces; and the pride of conscience encouraged me to sustain the honourable and important part which I was now acting. My spirits were raised and kept alive by the rapid motion of my journey, the new and various scenes of the Continent, and the civility of Mr Frey, a man of sense, who was not ignorant of books or the world. But after he had resigned me into Pavilliard's hands, and I was fixed in my new habitation, I had leisure to contemplate the strange and melancholy prospect before me. My first complaint arose from my ignorance of the language. In my childhood I had once studied the French grammar, and I could imperfectly understand the easy prose of a familiar subject. But when I was thus suddenly cast on a foreign land, I found myself deprived of the use of speech and of hearing, and, during some weeks, incapable not only of enjoying the pleasures of conversation, but even of asking or answering a question in the common intercourse of life. To a home-bred Englishman every object, every custom, was offensive; but the native of any country might have been disgusted with the general aspect of his lodging and entertainment. I had now exchanged my elegant apartment in Magdalen college, for a narrow, gloomy street, the most unfrequented of an unhandsome town, for an old inconvenient house, and for a small chamber, ill-contrived and ill-furnished, which, on the approach of winter, instead of a companionable fire, must be warmed by the dull invisible heat of a stove. From a man I was again degraded to the dependence of a school-boy. Mr Pavilliard managed my expenses, which had been reduced to a diminutive state. I received a small monthly allowance for my pocket