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CHAP. II. errors of the Vulgate', the false Aristotle, the neglect of science', the youth and inexperience of those from whom the ministers of the Church were recruited, the overweening attention given to the study of the civil law as the path to honour and emolument*.
The remedies he proposes.
But Bacon was no mere iconoclast; and while he severely scrutinised existing defects he was not less explicit in the remedies he advocated. Logic was, indeed, to be dethroned, but its place was to be filled by two other studies, which he regarded as the portals to all knowledge, the study of language and the study of mathematics. To the prevailing ignorance of the original tongues he ascribes the confusion then so rife Utter want of in theology and philosophy. The earliest revelation to man knowledge of had been handed down in the Hebrew tongue; the thought
of Aristotle was enshrined in Greek; that of Avicenna, in Arabic. How important then that these languages should be thoroughly known! And yet, he affirms, though there are many who can speak these languages, there is an almost utter ignorance of them in their grammatical structure. 'There are not four men among all the Latins,' he writes, 'who know the Hebrew, the Greek, and the Arabic tongues grammatically; I know what I say, for I have instituted rigorous inquiry, both at home and abroad, and have gone to considerable pains in the matter". Of the great work, which amid all the puerilities and extravagancies of dialectics was really being performed by the schoolmen, the subtlety, precision, and vastly extended nomenclature that they were imparting to the Romance languages, he seems to have had no conception.
It is to Mathematics however that he assigns the foremost
et cameram apud religiosos. Sed
1 Ibid. p. 330.
2 Ibid. p. 323, 353.
3 Compendium Studii Philosophia, p. 426.
4 Nam plus laudatur in ecclesia Dei unus jurista civilis, licet solum sciat jus civile et ignoret jus canoni
cum et theologiam, quam unus magister in theologia, et citius eligitur ad ecclesiasticas dignitates.' Opus Tertium, ed. Brewer, p. 84.
5 Ibid. p. 32.
6 Nam non sunt quatuor Latini, qui sciant grammaticam Hebræorum, et Græcorum, et Arabum : bene enim cognosco eos, quia et citra mare et ultra diligenter feci inquiri, et multum in his laboravi.' Ibid. p. 33.
place. Divine Mathesis, and she alone, can purge the intel- CHAP. II. lectual vision, and fit the learner for the acquirement of all Value at knowledge'. As for the implied non-approval of the study, Bacon to the which, as some would have it, had been conveyed in the Mathematics. silence of the fathers, he urges that in the early days of the Church mathematics were almost unknown, and consequently could scarcely have been either condemned or approved; but, so far as any evidence existed to shew, had not Isidorus carefully discriminated between the use and abuse of the science, in the distinction he had drawn between the study of astronomy, and that of astrology or magic? The uses of logic cannot, he insists, compare with those of mathematical or linguistic studies, for though its terminology is a matter of acquirement in the language which we speak, the reasoning faculty is itself innate, and, as Aristotle had himself admitted, even the uneducated syllogise3. Amid the many disappointments which befel him in his troublous career, Bacon was yet spared from foreseeing how completely his estimate would, in a few years, be set aside at Oxford, and how long language and mathematics would be doomed to wait without her gates while logic reigned supreme within.
And yet there were grounds for hope in the events that were going on around him; for at the time that these three treatises were written, there had already been founded at Oxford an institution, to which indeed we find no reference in his writings, but which we cannot but suppose must have suggested to him a coming age when learning should be set free from petty obstructions and vexations like those that
1 'Nec mirum si omnia sciantur per mathematicam,......quia omnes scientiæ sunt connexæ (ut superius dixi) licet quælibet simul cum hac habeat suam proprietatem.' Ibid. p. 37.
2 Ibid. p. 26.
3 'De logica enim non est vis tanta, quia scimus eam per naturam, licet vocabula logica in lingua, qua utimur, quærimus per doctrinam.' Ibid. p. 102.
4 Mr Percival, in his edition of the Foundation Statutes of Merton College (Oxford, 1847), has stated in his Introduction, that Roger Bacon ...taught philosophy and rhetoric in the schools of Merton;' an assertion which appears hardly reconcilable with what we know of Bacon's life; and I may add, on the authority of Mr Coxe of the Bodleian, that no known existing sources of information throw any light on the question.
CHAP. II. haunted his Franciscan cell. The walls of Merton College Foundation were already reared', and though his soul would have been
of MERTON COLLEGE, 1264.
Progress of the conception of found
but little gladdened could it have descried, in the future, Duns Scotus descanting to breathless audiences on the mysteries of the intentio secunda, he might have derived some solace could he have foreseen the work of Occam and Wyclif.
The schools of Oxford had been rising rapidly in importance ever since the arrival of the Franciscans in England. Under the auspices of Grosseteste, first in his capacity of rector scholarum and subsequently as diocesan, and under the teaching of Adam de Marisco and others of the Franciscan order, the university began to attain to that celebrity which culminated in the early part of the following century. It would not appear however that either Grosseteste, or Adam de Marisco, or even Roger Bacon, though all more or less keenly alive to the evils resulting from the abuse of the papal power and the laxity of monastic discipline, had ever seriously contemplated the severance of the work of education from its traditional associations. They looked for reform from within rather than from without. The developement of the new conception must be sought for in another and in many respects a widely different school.
So far back as the time of Cnut and Harold, the idea of ations for the founding colleges which should not be monasteries, and of training clergymen rather than monks, had found occasional expression. It is one of the early indications of the struggle between Teutonic and Latin Christianity; for Harold unThe notion doubtedly borrowed his conception from what he had seen in Germany, and the system of secular colleges appears to have been first established in Lorraine under Chrodegang bishop
1 The earliest college foundation at Oxford appears really to have been University College, founded by William of Durham who, dying in 1249, bequeathed 310 marks for the support of poor scholars. His bequest remained unapplied for many years, during which interval Merton College was founded. Mr Anstey considers that Anthony Wood is guilty of some disingenuousness in claiming, under
these circumstances, the priority for Merton; before Merton College was finally established William of Durham's bequest had been all applied by the university in the purchase of houses, and statutes given for the halls founded therewith.' Introd, to Munimenta Academica, p. xxix.
2 Luard, Introd. to Grosseteste Epistolæ, pp. xxxiii. and xl.
The prevailing system in England during the CHAP. II. supremacy of the family of Eadgar had been adverse to the canons, who had been displaced from the colleges and cathedral churches to make room for the Benedictines; but the Danish monarchs not unnaturally sympathised with the party that Ethelred and his followers had oppressed, and under their rule colleges for canons rose in rapid succession. Cnut indeed appears to have been guided more by local Chut. considerations than by any abstract theory, and favoured the two parties alternately; but Harold, the noble-hearted and wide-minded Harold, was throughout distinguished as canonicæ regulæ strenuus institutor, and his foundation at Earl Harold's Waltham has been recently, and for the first time, brought at Waltham.
1 Prof. Stubbs, Introd. to De Inventione Sanctæ Crucis, etc. pp. viii. ix; and Introd. to Epistola Cantuarienses, p. xvii.
2 Tanner-Nasmith, pp. 84, 207, 504. See also Mr C. H. Pearson's observations in Historical Maps of England, p. 54. 'It was,' says Professor Stubbs, 'unfortunately the policy of the monks and their advocates to claim an original right to all monastic churches, and to aggrandize themselves whenever they could with the occupation of those to which they had not the original claim, on the ground of their sanctity. In this way no prescription against them was allowed to defeat their existing claims, and the shortest prescription in their favour was pressed against the most just claim of the seculars. To turn a church of clerks into a monastery was a merit of great efficiency for the remission of sins, but to turn a monastery into a secular church was an unheard-of impiety.' Introd. to Epist. Cant. p. xxv.
3 He is SO described in the charter of Waltham. We can imagine,' says Professor Stubbs, the reasons that made him so the foreign predilections of the monks, favoured by the simple monarch on the throne; the decay of learning which was beginning to be felt in the institutions which had the monopoly of it, and which it was reserved for the energy of Lancaster to counteract; and the danger which
a monastic power, separated in ideas and sympathies from the people and wielded by worldly men, always entails on the religion and happiness of a nation. The monks, like the friars in later times, were always in extremes; sometimes before, sometimes behind the age. The heroic patriotism displayed by some of their fraternities at the moment of the Conquest and shortly after it, would, if anything could, disprove this statement: but the effort was short and spasmodic, and served but to rivet the fetters on the people, who would have made it successful if it had been attempted a few years earlier. The multiplication of secular colleges was one of the most likely means of raising up a clergy whose knowledge of mankind, general learning, and thorough sympathy with Englishmen, might improve the character and help to save the souls of the people Harold loved. Alfred and Eadward the Elder, Athelstan and Cnut, had shewn their sense of this by secular foundations; the heroes of the monks were Ethelwulf, Eadred, and Eadgar: the contrast is a speaking one. Nor was the lesson lost on English statesmen who followed them, such as were the great bishops of the family of Beck, archbishops Thornby and Chicheley, Walter de Merton, and William of Wykeham.' Introd. to De Inventione, p. vii.
the excep'tional character of
CHAP. II. before the student of this period, in its true relation to the majority of the foundations of the time. 'Every writer of man's view of English history,' says Mr Freeman, 'as far as I know, has wholly misrepresented its nature. It is constantly spoken Farl Harold's of as an abbey, and its inhabitants as monks. Waltham and its founder thus gets mixed up with the vulgar crowd of monastic foundations, the creations in many cases of a real and enlightened piety, but in many cases also of mere superstition or mere fashion. The great ecclesiastical foundation of earl Harold was something widely different. Harold did not found an abbey; Waltham did not become a religious house till Henry the Second, liberal of another man's purse, destroyed Harold's foundation by way of doing honour to the new martyr of Canterbury. Harold founded a Dean and Secular Canons; them King Henry drove out, and put in an Abbot and Austin Canons in their place...... The clergy whom Harold placed in his newly founded minster were not monks, but secular priests, each man living on his own prebend, and some of them, it would seem, married....... It is not unlikely that Harold's preference for the secular clergy may have had some share in bringing upon him the obloquy which he undergoes at the hands of so many ecclesiastical writers. It was not only the perjurer, the usurper, but the man whose hand was closed against the monk and open to the married priest, who won the hatred of Norman and monastic writers. With the coming of the Normans the monks finally triumphed. Monasticism, in one form or another, was triumphant for some ages. Harold's own foundation was perverted from his original design; his secular priests were expelled to make room for those whom the fashion of the age looked on as holier than they. At last the tide turned; men of piety and munificence learned that the monks had got enough, and from the fourteenth century onwards the bounty of founders took the same direction which it had taken under Æthelstan and Harold. Colleges, educational and otherwise, in the universities and out of them, now again rose alongside of the monastic institutions which had now thoroughly fallen from their first love. In