« ForrigeFortsæt »
they receive from the students, -- and these are also regulated; - a system which evidently tends to unite the public reputation with the private advantage of the professors. Owing to this cause, also, it has been more easily susceptible of those alterations in the arrangement of the course of study, and of other changes, to which the progress of society and of science have from time to time given rise. We believe, indeed, that, in consequence of this very power of adaptation to existing circumstances, and the absence of what are considered as essential college-rules for the students, it is in England scarcely deemed a regular University, but is regarded as a kind of anomalous institution; capable, it is true, of imparting much useful knowlege, but, being destitute of the endowments, discipline, and forms which distinguish our venerable Sister-Universities, supposed to be unprovided with the necessary title to confer the legitimate honours and character of scholarship. From these circumstances, and from the merited reputation of the University of Edinburgh, its origin, its progress, and its connection with the literary, ecclesiastical, and political history of the times form a very interesting subject of inquiry.
These are accordingly the objects which the present author, in his preface, states that he has in view. Being himself an alumnus of the University, where he observes he had spent the most agreeable part of his life, he mentions the great
desire which he had long cherished to record its history; a species of inquiry to which he had always been partial, and to which some of his former literary researches had contributed to direct and stimulate his attention. While preparing his work, he received the most liberal assistance from the Principal and other public officers of the University, in being allowed a free use of its records and manuscripts; and, besides the perusal of certain valuable papers in the private possession of some of the professors, he was also favoured by the Lord Provost and Magistrates of Edinburgh with an unqualified access to the city archives, which, as the TownCouncil are the patrons of the University, contain the most authentic and ample documents of its history. With these advantages, therefore, the book certainly comes before the public with at least the claim of authenticity; and, as it is the only history of this celebrated and singular University, (except a fragment of its very earliest years,) we have little doubt that it will be received with some welcome.
Before he enters on the particular detail, Mr. Bower devotes three short chapters to a kind of histoire raisonnée of Universities in general; tracing the history of public schools Rev, Aug. 1817.
supported by the state from the earliest times; and considering the Palatine school, instituted by Charlemagne, as that which gave rise to the oldest in Europe, the University of Paris. In these preliminary chapters, also, is discussed the origin of the practice of classing students into nations; of the different faculties of theology, law, and medicine; of titles and degrees; of public officers; and of the privileges and even the academical dress of students.
In the succeeding chapter, the author enters more immediately on the subject of the work. When briefly reviewing the history of the institution of public seminaries in Scotland, he takes notice that, although the ecclesiastics had always been employed in teaching, (together with the Latin tongue) however imperfectly, the first principles of learning, it was not till 1410 that a pedagogy was founded at St. Andrew's on an extensive scale;, in which divinity, law, medicine, and the liberal arts, were proposed to be taught. In 1450 a similar course was established at Glasgow; and in 1494 at Aberdeen. In the latter of these years, during the fifth parliament of James IV., the barons and freeholders were enjoined to send their eldest sons to grammar-schools, in order to attain “ perfite Latin,” who
were afterward to remain three years at the“ schules of art and jure, so as they may have knowledge of the laws;" — and this under a penalty. From the number of students who resorted at that time to the Universities, and which was great, considering the population of Scotland, it would appear that the grammar or Latin schools were not few.
Buchanan went from one of them to the University of Paris, at the age of 16, in 1520, and returned to Scotland in 1561, when the Reformed Religion had just triumphed over the Roman Catholic. The author thinks that it was probably owing to this celebrated scholar that the first proposal of the College of Edinburgh had been made to Queen Mary; she having, soon after his return, granted a charter for its foundation, but which, owing to opposition from some interested courtiers connected with the other Universities, was not then carried into effect. In 1578, Mr. James Lawson, one of the ministers of Edinburgh, a zealous promoter of learning, was chiefly instrumental in instituting the Grammar or High-School; which was originally intended to combine, with the public teaching of the learned languages, the study of logic and philosophy in private classes.
The latter object was not accomplished: but the formation of this school seems to have revived the scheme of the University. Accordingly, in the following year, (1579,) the Magistrates, as the trustees and representatives of the community, notwithstanding the
opposition which had been made by the other Universities, now wisely and zealously embraced the favourable opportunity which a change of political affairs afforded for effecting their object; and they soon afterward obtained from James a very ample charter, confirming and augmenting all the privileges which his mother had granted. *
In 1558, Reid, Bishop of Orkney, had bequeathed to the town of Edinburgh 8,000 merks, for the purpose of erecting an University : but, the money not having come into the hands of the magistrates till 1582, it was only in that year, when they had obtained complete authority by the royal warrant, that they could enter on the practical execution of their scheme;--and then such was their zeal that, by the month of October of the same year, they were prepared to open one of their class-rooms. They appear to have been singularly happy in their choice of a person to preside in their infantinstitution.
• Mr. Rollock's fame,' says Mr. Bower, “had gone before him ; and the report that so celebrated a master was to begin a course of philosophy in the newly-founded University, operated as a charm, and induced a great number of students to repair thither to profit by his instructions. The impulse which thus was given to the youth of Scotland seems to have been very great indeed. For, according to his biographer and colleague, (who had the best opportunity of being informed,) multitudes from all corners of the kingdom Rocked to Edinburgh to hear his lectures. Turmatim ex omnibus regni angulis Edinburgum confluunt.'
The course of study instituted by the first teachers of the University, and which continued to be observed for many years, is not undeserving of notice. The session or term commenced in the beginning of October, and appears to have lasted till the end of August ; that is, the whole year was devoted to study, with the exception of one month's vacation. It was presumed that the students came perfectly prepared to enter on the perusal of the best Latin historians, orators, and poets; - a predominant attention being wisely given to Cicero. They were exercised in translating from the Latin into their vernacular tongue, and from it into Latin. Their performances were minutely examined ; and, after a proper novitiate, the Principal prescribed a common theme on which they composed a commentary.
* This charter constitutes the Lord Provost, Magistrates, and Town-Council of the city, patrons of the University in the largest sense, and empowers them to erect professorships and appoint professors as they may deem expedient. The Provost is ex officio Chancellor of the University, and the third magistrate for the year is Vice-Chancellor. Ee 2
The next part of the course was the study of Greek. At the period in question, there does not appear to have been any Greek grammar printed in Scotland, and probably there was not a sufficient stock of Greek types in the country for
The grammar in most repute was that of Clenardus, which kept possession of the Scotish Universities until it was superseded by the work of Professor Dunlop of Glasgow about the beginning of the last century, and which has now given place to that of Dr. Moor. After the student had gone through the elements, with a portion of the Greek Testament, the first and second oration of Isocrates, Phocilides, the first book of Hesiod, and some books of Homer, were read.
Dialectics then formed the object of attention. The treatise preferred was that of the celebrated Peter Ramus, who first opposed the system of Aristotle at Paris, and who had been interdicted by Francis I. from teaching his work. At the same time, the students were exercised in translating from Greek into Latin, and conversely; the passages which had been read from the Greek authors were committed to memory; on Saturdays, they were engaged in disputation; and on the morning of Sundays they were examined in the catechism, which was a summary, in Latin, of the doctrines of the old Scotch Confession of Faith, subscribed in 1580 by the King and subsequently by the nation.
After a public examination on their Greek acquirements, the students proceeded to read the rhetoric of Talaeus; a short treatise in two books, in the first of which the author considers elocution or style, tropes, figures, &c. and, in the second, pronunciation. Their attention was next called to the Progymnasmata of Aphthenius, containing instructions for composing orations; and, in the actual construction of these exercises, the course of dialectics and rhetoric which had been previously taught was effectually practised.
Philosophy succeeded; and the Organon of Aristotle, with Porphyry's introduction, the books of the Categories, the Analytics, the first, second, and eighth of the Topics, and two of the Elenchi, were the text-books. - The science of Mathematics was neglected, but a compend of Arithmetic was taught.
In the third year, together with the farther perusal of Aristotle, the study of Hebrew was commenced; and, towards the conclusion of the session, the anatomy of the human body was taught: a branch of study which must have been entirely confined to mere verbal description, Edinburgh not having at that time any institution for dissections. The
subject of lecture for Sunday mornings was now some common-place of divinity.
The attention of the fourth year was directed to what was called Physics. The books De Caelo, together with the Sphacra of John Sacroboscus, (Halifax,) were read: some theories of the planets were explained; and the more remarkable of the constellations were pointed out. The books De Ortu, De Meteoris, and De Animá, succeeded; and the course concluded with the perusal of Hunter's Cosmographia, and lessons on Sundays in controversial Divinity. Previously to the students receiving a degree, they were first examined privately, and, if successful, they afterward publicly defended a thesis. The duties of the professors, also, were minutely regulated and carefully enforced; and the manner in which every hour of the day was to be spent, by teacher and scholar, was pointed out and enjoined.
In 1986, King James, who, however ridiculous and contemptible his weaknesses may have been, was a promoter of learning, conferred some of the confiscated church-lands on the University; and, though not a great donation, this was perhaps all that he could command, surrounded as he was by à factious nobility and a turbulent populace. The first laureation, which excited much interest, and had the countenance of all the nobility, lawyers, and divineś of the city, consisted of 48 students; who, at the same time, were required to subscribe the celebrated national covenant, or bond of adherence to the Presbyterian establishment.
Soon after this date, the disputes began in Scotland on the subject of Church-government, which continued to rage with such bitter animosity for a very long and eventful period. James, from the time of his accession to the throne of England, had cherished the greatest anxiety to introduce episcopacy into his native country; and, in the General. Assembly which met at Perth in 1618, five articles were proposed and adopted; viz. kneeling at the sacrament, the observance of five holidays, private baptism, the private administration of the sacrament, and confirmation. A great ferment was in consequence produced among all ranks of the people, who justly considered this proceeding as the commencement of the new system. Among others, Boyd, Principal of the University of Glasgow, and nearly related to the noble family of Kilmarnock, spoke openly against the Articles, and declared that he would not conform. He then repaired to Edinburgh, and was elected Principal-in the room of Sands, who resigned. This appointment so greatly enraged the King, that he wrote a violent letter to the magistrates,
E e 3