spacer1. Walter Haddon is chiefly remembered as a poet, and his orations are generally held in low esteem by modern scholarship. The verdict has been handed down that his orations are “mostly empty Ciceronics” containing little of interest. NOTE 1 At least in the case of the present example, one begs to differ. In his study of Haddon's Latin writings, NOTE 2 Lawrence V. Ryan observed “...for some reason most modern scholars have ignored or passed over lightly the important Cambridge circle of humanists and reformers of which Haddon was a prominent member. Valuable studies have appeared of the earlier Oxford circle, dominated as it was by the magnetic figure of Sir Thomas More. But one would be hard put to name many worthwhile modern works on Roger Ascham, Sir John Cheke, Sir Thomas Smith, and Dr. Thomas Wilson, to mention only the greatest figures of the Cambridge group.” This is putting it mildly, and the situation does not appear to have greatly changed since these words were written. We are not just dealing with the story of an episode in the history of English higher education. When it dawns on one that a number of the key figures of Elizabeth's government (up to and including Cecil and Walsingham) and senior churchmen (such as Stephen Gardiner) started their lives as members of this group, where they acquired their intellectual furniture and (with the spectacular exception of Gardiner) had their thinking shaped by the religious indoctrination that went along with it, one begins to realize that there remains a considerably more interesting story to be told, one that would appear to have serious political and ideological implications. Viewed from this angle, the present Haddon oration acquires a good deal more historical and cultural interest than Baldwin realized.

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spacer2. The problem was real, not a figment of Haddon's imagination or a mere rhetorical device. A significant number of Cambridge students (and possibly some members of the faculty as well) were slacking. We can be sure of this because a Cambridge contemporary, Nicholas Carr, delivered an oration (we do not know its date since it was not printed until 1576) in which he likewise complained about a malaise that had befallen the University. Confronting this, a lesser educator would have taken the obvious course of issuing dire threats, but clever Walter Haddon adopted the very different tactic of playing on what he politely calls students' sense of honor, by which he actually meant their ambition to gain power and prosperity. At times this meaning may be a little difficult for a modern reader to comprehend because he tends to expresses himself in broad generalities, but would have been quite clear to audience of his own day. It may be helpful to summarize its train of thought in plain English:

I look around me and see regrettable signs of sloth. You young gentlemen need to apply yourself to your studies with greater diligence. To motivate you, I shall appeal to your sense of honor (by which I really mean your ambition).. The New Learning is much appreciated at Court and among the nobility, and our gracious sovereign likes to appoint well-schooled Humanists to senior positions within the government. I shall name some of the members of the cohort of Cambridge Humanists who have engineered an intellectual revolution here at the University, which has the effect of rescuing England from uncouth Medieval darkness, and have personally profited by moving on to prestigious and profitable governmental positions 31 (and, mark you, they are all sound Protestants and in that capacity are strategically positioned to further the cause of Reform). I exhort you to follow in their footsteps and reap similar rewards. And of course by so doing you will have enhanced the reputation and prestige of the University of Cambridge.

spacer3. Internal evidence goes to show that this oration must have been delivered in 1551. But exactly when? It begins with in elaborate description of a disease (maybe the sweating sickness, below we shall see that two Cambridge men died of that illness during the same time-frame) from which the speaker is not yet entirely recovered, and we know that that malady befell him in March of that year since we possess a consolatory letter written to him while on his sickbed by John Cheke dated on the 19th of that month. Then too, he refers to a lecturer of Civil Law who has been meus vicarius. The chair of Civil Law had been vacant for an extended period prior to Haddon's appointment, on March 21 of this same year, and he seems to be speaking of the man who had lectured on the subject in the absence of a Professor snd who stayed on the job until he had recuperated. He would not have used the word meus before he had obtained that position. And yet his roster of Regius Professors at §7 he begins with a tribute to the most recent occupant of the Divinity chair, Martin Bucer, and speaks of Bucer as if he were still living although he had died in late February of the same year (there can be no question whether Haddon was referring to Bucer's successor since after his death the position remained vacant until 1555). Perhaps the proper answer is that the bulk of the speech was written earlier and the introductory remarks about Haddon's disease were subsequently tacked onto its beginning as a rather melodramatic captatio benevolentiae.
spacer4. Be this as it may, the essential point is that this oration was spoken while Edward Seymour was governing England as Lord Protector. Although Haddon lavishes absurdly extravagant praise on Edward VI, as if all this favoritism shown towards Cambridge Humanists was the king's doing, in point of fact the responsibility was Seymour's and it seems highly unlikely that the boy-king was given any say in the matter. This makes perfect sense insofar as Seymour was himself the beneficiary of a first-rate Humanistic education and had spent some time at Cambridge and was a staunch Protestant and looked with favor on like-minded members of the University.
spacer5. So the real bait on Haddon's hook is something to which he repeatedly refers, albeit only by implication. This was the propensity of Lord Protector Seymour to appoint Cambridge Humanists to senior governmental positions, a policy subsequently imitated by Elizabeth. Why? Intellect and erudition doubtless were valued for their own sake, but this fails to explain the government's marked preference for Cambridge men. There were probably two reasons for this. First, Cambridge men in high office likely displayed favoritism by recruiting subordinates who were products of their own University. Then too, since Cambridge men were especially steeped in Protestantism, this was probably viewed as a guarantee of their their political reliability. At the same time, by pointing out that a Cambridge education is the ticket to fame and fortune, Haddon is tacitly stressing the value and the importance of the new educational model introduced by Cheke, Smith and other Cambridge Humanists.
spacer6. In his peroration Haddon comes the closest to spelling this out explicitly, and it is conspicuous that a number of of the Cambridge academics he names followed this same prestigious and lucrative career path leading from Cambridge to London. (a path eventually taken by Haddon himself, he was Master of the Requests under Elizabeth). Then too, earlier in the speech he describes how many members of the nobility prized learning and wished to acquire it for themselves and their kinsmen. Plenty of cushy tutoring jobs to be had in that quarter too. Plenty of potential patronage existed
spacer7. Considered more generally, this well-trodden path from Cambridge to the corridors of power is a remarkable feature of government in the reigns of Edward VI and Elizabeth, that would probably repay the closer attention of historians. It is no doubt not accidental, for example, that Elizabeth liked to select Humanistically-trained Cambridge Protestants as her closest and most trusted advisors, men like William Cecil, Francis Walsingham (at Cambridge Haddon himself had been his tutor) and Walter Mildmay. Then too, for a while the queen's erstwhile tutor Roger Ascham served in the important position of Latin Secretary (who handled the nation's diplomatic correspondence, a post later occupied by John Milton). And all over Europe it was commonplace to recruit Humanists for diplomatic duties, necessary because international diplomacy was conducted in Latin and therefore ability at Latin was necessary. Ambassadors were required to deliver set-speeches at foreign Courts, so rhetorical training was a requisite qualification for diplomatic service, This is why, to cite one example, Thomas Chaloner, yet another Cambridge product, was assigned the crucially important post of ambassador to the Court of Spain. All in all, the favoritism shown Cambridge men was a conspicuous and important feature of Tudor policy. NOTE 3 Occupation as tutors to children of the royal family and such powerful Protestant clans as the Brandons, Seymours, Greys, and Dudleys and might count as another form of public service and certainly helped cement the relationship of England's ruling class to the university
spacer8. Cantabrigienses, sive Exhortatio ad Literas was printed at volume isued London in 1552 by Richard Grafton, regius impressor, and this would seem to imply governmental approval. and almost imparts the aura of a semi-official document. In general the printing job was a clean one, there are only a very small number of errors that have required fixing and one short passage that seems intrusive, so that its excision may be in order. Grafton’s press employed a small number of non-standard abbreviations, and I can only hope I have unpacked them correctly. This oration was reprinted in a collection of Haddon's orations entitled G. Haddoni... Legum Doctoris,. s. Reginae Elisabethae a Supplicum Libellis, Lucubrationes Passim Collectae et Editae,, at London in 1567, occupying pp. 109 - 134. The text it prints is identical to that of the 1552 version.
spacer9. No doubt some eyebrows will be raised by my occasionally periphrastic translation of Haddon’s Latin, but, in view of the occasionally opaque pseudo-Ciceronian style he affects, I believe it is more useful to give the reader an understanding of what he is trying to say than an accurate rendition of what he actually says. Finally, I wish to thank Dr. Lucy Nicolas (another Haddon fan) for entering into a discussion which helped me sharpen my thinking on this oration.


spacerNOTE 1 T. W. Baldwin, William Shakespeare's Small Latine and Lesse Greeke (Urbana, 1944) I.680. J. W. Binns, Intellectual Culture in Elizabethan and Jacobean England: The Latin Writings of the Age (Leeds, 1990) p. 202 - 204, fully appreciated the importance of this volume containing Haddon's orations and correspondence as documentation of the advance of Humanism in mid-century the English universities

spacerNOTE 2 Lawrence V. Ryan, “Walter Haddon: Elizabethan Latinist,” Huntington Library Quarterly 2 (1954) pp. 9f. Cf. also Lucy Nicholas, “Haddon: Looking at the 16th c. Through a Latin Lens," posted on the website here.

spacerNOTE 3 Important work remains to be done in the form of biographical studies of some key figures and editions of some of their writings (replete with English translations, when they wrote in Latin) so that they might be allowed to speak to us in their own words. And there are important questions that require further exploration, such as why was Oxford was largely left out of the picture (unless this is an optical illusion created by the fact that we possess relatively little literature coming out of that university) and the reasons for such a deep affinity between Humanism and Protestantism. For the historical importance of the introduction of Humanism at Cambridge see, above all else, Winthrop S. Hudson, Cambridge Connection and the Elizabethan Settlement of 1559 (Durham, North Carolina,1980).