It was a sharp remedy, however. For on the morrow of this resolve the owners of so many good houses, fields, and gardens, all the outward and visible of Uppingham School, became, for a term without assignable limit, landless and homeless men, and the Headmaster almost as much disburdened of his titular realm as if he were a bishop in partibus or the chief of a nomad caravan. It was a sharp remedy; but those who submitted to it breathed the freer at having broken prison, and felt something, not indeed of the recklessness which inspires adventure, but of the elation which sustains it:
Why now, blow wind, swell billow,
and swim bark;
The storm is up, and all is on the hazard!
There was cited at this time a somewhat similar event in the history of Rugby School. Dr. Arnold, in a like emergency, had removed the school, or all who chose to go, in numerous detachments under the care severally of himself and others of his masters to various distant spots, among others his own house in the Lake country, where they spent some two months, and returned to Rugby when the danger was over. It was felt, however, that this incident furnished no real precedent for the present venture. What we were proposing was not to arrange a number of independent reading-parties in scattered country retreats. Such a plan would hardly have been practicable with a system in which, as in our case, the division of the school for teaching purposes has no reference to the division into boarding-houses. It was proposed to pluck up the school by the roots and transplant it bodily to strange soil; to take with us the entire body of masters, with, probably, their families, and every boy who was ready to follow; to provide teaching for the latter, not only without loss in the amount, but without interruption of the existing system in any branch; and to guarantee the supply of everything necessary for the corporate life of three hundred boys, who had to be housed, fed, taught, disciplined, and (not the easiest of tasks) amused, on a single spot, and one as bare of all the wonted appliances of public school life as that yet uncertain place was like to prove, of which the recommendation for our residence would be that no one else cared to reside there.
Habet populus Romanus ad quos
gubernacula rei publicae deferat: qui
ubicunque terrarum sunt, ibi omne est rei publicae praesidium, vel
potius ipsa res publica.
HAMLET. Is not parchment made of sheep-skins?
HORATIO. Ay, my lord, and of calf-skins too.
HAMLET. They are sheep and calves which seek out assurance in that.
The Trustees of the School met at Uppingham on March 11th. This was the earliest opportunity of consulting them collectively on the resolution to break up the school and to migrate, which had been taken on the 7th. They sanctioned the breaking up of the school. On the question of its removal elsewhere they recorded no opinion.