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WILLIAM STUBBS Seventeen lectures on the study of medieval and modern history and kindred subjects

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WILLIAM STUBBS
Seventeen lectures on the study of medieval and modern history and kindred subjects
page 385



XIV.] 7HE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY. 379 the old University system ; and in 1669, Richard Pearson, brother of Bishop Pearson the commentator on the Creed, claimed to be admitted in distinct terms to both faculties. The Archbishop of Canterbury also, under the Dispensation Act, has the unquestioned right to make a doctor of canon law, although I am not sure that it has ever been exercised. But at Oxford the designation of the degree had latterly come to be'restricted to civil law; and when in 1715, or thereabouts, Mr. Charles Browne of Balliol College applied to the Vice-Chancellor, Dr. Gardiner, for leave to proceed as bachelor and doctor of the canon law, he was told that he could not be prevented from doing so if he wished it, but that it would give the University a great deal of trouble ; and the poor man died before he achieved the object of his ambition. These notes are, however, of little importance, except as illustrating the revival of the ancient study, and the attention which the ecclesiastical questions of the day were calling to ancient practice. In point of fact, the whole of the second and last act of the Stewart dynasty was full of ecclesiastical questionings and excitements, which, though they did not directly touch our subject, stimulated the studies most closely connected with it. The struggle under James II, the position of the Nonjurors, the relation of Convocation to Parliament, the Whistonian and Bangorian controversies, all drew in lively partisans to the investigation of legal and ecclesiastical problems. The names of Hody, Kennet, Atterbury, Wake, and Gibson, all leading Oxford men, and men of deep research and minute if not accurate reading, are conspicuous in this regard ; and, as for constitutional purposes it may be said that the very dust of their writings is gold, it would be ungrateful indeed to speak of their earnestness in the main object as misplaced. Gibson stands out more distinctly than any of the others as a great canonist, and his Codex or Collection of English Church Statutes is still the standard


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