Note 4
Note from 'Decision To Write A History' chapter from 'Memoirs Of My Life And Writing' by Gibbon

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 shown 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 Brasenose 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. — Sheffield

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 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. — Sheffield

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