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THE ST. EDMUND'S HALL CASE

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and drawing nigh to God," and when the Head declined to take action, appealed to the Vice-Chancellor to hold a Court of Inquiry. The scene which followed reads like a page from mediæval history. The dingy little chapel of St. Edmund's Hall crowded with noisy gownsmen. The Quad outside and Queen's Lane full of those unable to get in. The solemn procession of red-robed doctors from the University church. The seven students, nervous and bewildered, standing before their judges. The reading of the formidable accusation,2 charging them with being enemies of the Church, frequenters of an illegal conventicle, and men destitute of learning. Higson, the accuser, voluble and vehement, explaining that the first point meant that they held "the doctrines of Election, Perseverance, and Justification by Faith without Works," and that they were "connected with reputed Methodists, Mr. Venn, Mr. Newton, Mr. Fletcher": that the second point referred to the meeting in old Mrs. Durbridge's drawing-room; and as to the third point, producing a long piece of crabbed Latin from the University Statutes, and challenging the unhappy young men to translate it on the spur of the moment before that critical and excited crowd. Two accomplished the feat with ease, and were equally successful with a passage from the Greek Testament, but the other five stumbled horribly, and he claimed that his point

1 Pietas Oxoniensis, 3.

2 Given in full in Nowell's Answer to Pietas Oxoniensis, p. 18. 3 Pietas Oxoniensis, II.

was proved. In addition to this he charged three of them with the offence of having been tradesmen before they came to Oxford. Dr. Dixon, Principal of the Hall, rose cool and sarcastic. He reminded Mr. Higson that the doctrines he mentioned were taught in the Thirty-nine Articles, declared that the conduct of the accused had been excellent-"he never remembered seven youths whose lives were so exemplary,"1 and suggested that even if they had rather too much religion, the Court would be more profitably employed in inquiring into the lives of those who had too little. The seven said nothing, except that they were willing to abandon any meeting which the authorities thought undesirable. But Dr. Durell and his assessors had already made up their minds. Six of the seven were found guilty, and sentenced to be expelled from the Hall and University. The decision was considered as final, and other colleges followed suit. Magdalen, for example, sent a man down "for having been tainted with Methodistical principles." 2 Wherever an undergraduate was suspected of sympathy with the Revival, he was asked in a way which he could not refuse to remove his name from the books, “and thus," wrote Dr. Nowell, the Principal of St. Mary's Hall, "were disappointed the hopes of those who were desirous of filling the Church with their votaries." Foiled at Oxford, the Evangelical leaders turned

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to Cambridge, but here the prospect for a time seemed equally discouraging. Venn of HuddersCambridge. field had the greatest difficulty in finding

a college that would consent to admit his son. The first to break down this wall of prejudice was the gentle William Farish, a profound scientist and humble Christian and Fellow of Magdalene. With the greatest difficulty he persuaded his college to receive the men whom the Elland Society were helping to train for the Ministry. Here they were tolerated, but nothing more, for Gretton, the Master, was always hostile, protesting against the college being turned into "a nest of Methodists."

Isaac
Milner.

But the position was entirely changed in 1788, when Isaac Milner, the younger brother of Joseph Milner of Hull, was appointed President of Queens'. A big North Countryman, who had forced his way up, by sheer strength of character and intellect, from a weaver's loom, he had been not only Senior Wrangler, but so far ahead of his competitors that the examiners had added the word Incomparabilis to his name: and in his new post he showed that he was not afraid of difficulties. The college at that time was in very low water; its numbers had sunk from over two hundred to less than sixty; and Milner decided on a bold and startling revolution. The religious traditions of Queens' were strongly Latitudinarian, but the new President, like his brother, was a keen Evangelical, and he determined to make his college a sort of School of the Prophets, the stronghold of Evan

gelicalism in Cambridge. Of course there was much opposition, but Milner was not by any means an easy man to crush; the tutors who opposed him had to resign or retire to country livings, and as the appointment of their successors rested with the President alone, soon, as a contemporary wrote,1 "he acquired such entire ascendency over the Fellows that after a few years no one thought of offering the slightest opposition to his will." Under his benevolent despotism the college prospered mightily. Evangelical parents sent their sons, young Evangelicals seeking ordination came from all parts of the country, and before long, instead of being one of the smallest colleges, Queens' became one of the largest in the whole University. Even his appointment to the Deanery of Carlisle (1791) made no difference to his work. He gave his vacations to the cathedral, but the terms to his college. In the course of a long and honourable life he gained many distinctions, but we remember him as the man who fought and won the battle which made a university education possible for avowed Evangelicals.

Charles
Simeon.

Milner's work was supplemented by that of Charles Simeon. One gathered the men together and the other trained them. Simeon had come up to King's from Eton a wild undergraduate, famous for his love of horses and extravagance in dress; but one day he discovered that the rules of the college compelled him to receive the Communion on the following

1 H. Gunning's Reminiscences of Cambridge.

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