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Scottish Education - Schools and University
Chapter XXI - Third Period (1696 - 1858). Edinburgh University


IN our second period the history of Edinburgh University in its leading features was described up to the time when Carstares appears on the scene in 1693. Though ten years were to elapse before he had official connection with the university, his influence with King William III, whose chaplain he was, was so predominant that he was popularly called `Cardinal Carstares. He took the keenest and most beneficent interest in university matters, and obtained from the King a grant of 1200 which was divided equally among the four universities. His aim at filling the Scottish theological chairs with eminent foreigners under whom he had studied was not successful. His failure in this was not followed by relaxation of interest in the university. With the grant above-mentioned each of the universities was to be provided with an additional Professor of Divinity and theological bursaries. The arrangement for Edinburgh was that the Professor should receive 100 a year, and that bursaries of fro each should be provided for twenty students in Theology. A Regius Professor of Ecclesiastical History was accordingly appointed in 1702, the Town Council, in order not to prejudice the character of the Institution as being one of municipal origin, making a merely formal protest against the title `Regius.' It was found in 1707 that the twenty bursaries had furnished a sufficient supply of ministers, and Queen Anne (by whose advice does not appear) thought it better that the twenty bursaries should be reduced to five, and a Professor of "Public Law and the Law of Nature and Nations" should be founded with the 150 thus saved. This was done, and the staff now consisted of four ecclesiastical Professors, one of them being Principal, Professors of Public Law and Mathematics, four Regents of Philosophy and a Regent of Humanity-in all eleven.

Before this, students in search of instruction in legal science resorted to Leyden, Utrecht, and other foreign universities, returning, after a year or two, to give their fellow-countrymen the benefit of what they had learned abroad. But they were private teachers, and taught their pupils sometimes in their own houses, sometimes in taverns or attics in the High Street or Canongate, their studies often moistened by more or less liberal potations. In 1698 an Act of the Scots Parliament appointed Alexander Cunningham to a bogus Professorship of Civil Law. But he did not, and was not asked to, teach Civil Law [Grant's Story of Edin. Univ., I, p. 361. In an Appendix too long for quotation it is shown how illusive was the Professorship, promoted mainly by the Duke of Queensberry, to whose family Cunningham had been tutor.].

Chalmers informs us that John Spottiswoode "had the honour of being the first who opened Schools, in his own house indeed, for teaching professedly the Roman and the Scottish Laws, which he continued to teach at Edinburgh, though not in the university, for six and twenty years [Chalmers' Life of Ruddiman (1795), p. 35]." He was followed by James Craig, who lectured privately on Civil Law for several years, and was elected in 1710 Professor of that subject, but without salary for the first seven years. For an account of the strained relations between the Town Council and Professors and Regents, as to their legal rights in respect of the Chancellorship, the claims of the college to be a university, the right of certain Professors to style themselves "the Faculty of Philosophy," the legality of private graduations [The practice with regard to graduation seems to have been loose. In 1695 an honorary degree in Civil Law, a subject not taught in the college, was conferred on a man of whom the only record is that he gratefully paid 15 to the Library. By the Act of 1621 Edinburgh was simply a College of Arts and Theology.], &c. we must refer the reader to Grant's Story of Edinburgh University, I, pp. 234-247. It is not far wrong to say that the Professors were aggressive, and in some respects mutinous, and that the Town Council, as patrons, were perhaps unduly sensitive as to encroachments on their rights. Mutual concessions would have been profitable for both.- At the beginning of the 18th century however it was legally settled that the Town Council had absolute powers over the college, and certificates of graduation bore that the Town Council were patrons.

While a country is engaged in struggles for civil and religious liberty, educational progress can scarcely fail to be unfavourably affected. That the frequent changes in the staff of the university, consequent on the Restoration and Revolution, exercised a retarding influence is beyond question, but they did not produce any organic alterations. The number of students seems not to have been reduced. The majority were Covenanters who, after the manner of students in religious partisanship, took to occasional rioting, and zealously burnt the effigy of the Pope without serious consequences. But early in the 18th century organic changes were made. Greek, which the Visitation Commission of 1699 in vain recommended to be under the charge of a specialised Professor, was, by the act of the Town Council in 1708, assigned to such a Professor. Passing through the Greek class, however, was not necessary for a student who wished to take the Philosophy course at once. This act provided that the Faculty of Arts should consist of specialised Professors.

The following is the curriculum laid down for Arts.

I. " The class of the Professor of Humanity (now restricted to Latin) remained at the bottom, but it was no longer infra-academical. It constituted the first year of the Arts course, and, from 1710 onwards, the students belonging to it were matriculated, which the pupils of the Regent of Humanity never had been.

II. Next came the class of the Professor of Greek. This was called the Bajan class from old associations, though it was now properly the class for second year students. But persons coming from other universities, or who, on examination, showed the requisite proficiency, might pass over both the Humanity and Greek classes. A similar practice had been allowed long previously under the regenting system. Those who on entrance were placed in the second, third, or fourth year class, were called supervenientes, and they were often very numerous.

III. Then came the class of the Professor of Logic, which, as being next above the Bajans, was now called the Semi class. It was the third year's course for an ordinary student, and the first of the two years to be devoted to Philosophy.

IV. Finally there was the Natural Philosophy or Magistrand class, which conducted the student to his degree [Sir A. Grant's Story of Edinburgh University, I, pp. 263-4.]."

Up to 1708 graduation was by most regarded as the natural crown of a completed curriculum. Thereafter the custom changed. For this there were several reasons. The abolition of regenting took away any motive for encouraging it from all but the Professor of Natural Philosophy, who alone got laureation fees. Further, by the abolition of the entrance examination instituted by Rollock many were admitted who could not face the ordeal of an examination. As contributory to this, it must be added that the grammar schools were weak, and were forbidden, by an act of the Privy Council in 1672, to teach Greek as trenching on the province of the university. The result of this was that the Professors of Latin and Greek did, in their lower classes, the work of grammar schools, traces of which still remained till well past the middle of the 19th century. In these circumstances a go-as-you-please habit, as to the number and order of classes, arose; and graduation steadily declined, till in the middle of the 18th century only one or two took the degree of Master of Arts. And yet degrees even in Oxford were not, from Lord Eldon's account, difficult to get ["I was examined," he says, "in Hebrew and History. `What is the Hebrew for the place of a skull?' I replied `Colgotha.' `Who founded University College?' I replied that King Alfred founded it. `Very well, Sir,' said the examiner, `you are competent for your degree."'].

It is clear that, except in classical learning, Edinburgh profited greatly by the adoption of the professoriate. In all the other branches of academic culture we find, in every subject, such an expansion in breadth and depth as might be expected from Professors devoting themselves each to a special subject. Colin Maclaurin gave a wider and more intellectual range to pure and applied Mathematics and Experimental Philosophy. Stewart or rather Maclaurin, for Stewart was old and incapacitated, substituted for Aristotle's Physics, and the Sphere of Sacrobosco, Gregory's Optics and Astronomy, and Newton's Priitcipia [It is worthy of remark that the Principia was taught in the Scottish universities before it was received in the English ones. Lecky's Hist. of England in the 18th century, vol. II chap. v, p. 45.]. Similar advances were made in Metaphysics, Rhetoric, and Moral Philosophy.

To the five Professorships in the Faculty of Arts in 1708 an additional Professorship of Rhetoric and Belles Lettres was added in 1760.

The Senatus were anxious to bring about a return to graduation, and, when some students of Philosophy in 1738 proposed to print and defend theses as a means of obtaining the degree of M.A., their offer was accepted and they got the degree. Encouraged by this, the Senatus drew up fresh rules, enacting that candidates must have given three years to Philosophy, and be publicly examined in Greek and all parts of Philosophy. This seems to have failed, probably because it made attendance on Mathematics and Moral Philosophy compulsory. They made yet another attempt by proposing that the Professor of Divinity should refuse entrance to his classes to all who had not taken a degree in Arts, but that those who had already entered should receive the degree without examination. This also was fruitless, the Professor acting probably on Knox's advice to the General Assembly at Perth in 1572 [Laing's Knox, vi, p. 619, "Above all things preserve the Kirk from the bondage of the Universities ... never subject the pulpit to their judgment, neither yet exempt them from your jurisdiction."]. The General Assembly has never insisted on graduation as imperative for divinity students. Its insistence did not go beyond stipulating that, before being licensed, every student should produce evidence of his being either a graduate, or of having given full attendance at the Arts classes prescribed by the university where he had been educated.

As the result of an inter-university discussion in 1803, it was decided that admission to the Divinity Hall must be preceded by attendance for four sessions covering Greek, Logic, Moral Philosophy, and Natural Philosophy. It is remarkable that Mathematics, so necessary for the study of Natural Philosophy in its now extended area, is not mentioned as imperative. In 1809 Edinburgh supplemented the omission by including Mathematics. Other attempts were made to frame new rules for graduation, but nothing definite was accomplished, till the Royal Commission was appointed in 1826 and the executive Commission in 1858 [Grant's Story of Edinburgh University, I, p.,282.].

We have seen that, up to the beginning of the 18th century, Law had received scant attention at the hands of the university, and that budding advocates in search of legal lore betook themselves to Holland, Dutch and Scots law being both based on Roman law. Two attempts at founding a Chair of Law in 1557 (above p. 144) and in 1590 (above p. 150) were unsuccessful. In 1707 (above p. 257) a Professor of Public Law was at last appointed with a fixed salary. For the Chair of Civil Law to which Craig was appointed in 1710, and for other two chairs, for Scots law and Universal History, the Acts of 1716 and 1722 provided salaries of 100 a year. Till the end of the 18th century the Faculty of Laws was represented by three Professors of Law, and the Professor of History, whose subject was partly legal, partly historical. Early in the 19th century the Chair of Public Law was a sinecure, and was vacant for over thirty years, but was again revived under the Act of 1858.

A proposal to establish other two chairs, one for Conveyancing, and the other for Medical jurisprudence, was unanimously opposed by the Senatus as unnecessary, and injurious to the vested rights of existing Professors. These two chairs were however, by the action of the Town Council and the Crown officers, established early in the 19th century.

In our second period some description was given of the movement in 1505, which, after a good deal of wrangling as to the respective functions and rights of Surgeons and Physicians, ended in the institution by the Town Council of the earliest surgical corporation chartered in the United Kingdom. For a long time there was great jealousy between the Surgeons who were, and the Physicians and Apothecaries who were not incorporated. The Surgeons were indignant at the attempts by the Physicians to curtail their privileges, and restrict the area of their operations as legitimate practitioners. They had resolved not to regard themselves as in any respect subordinate to the Physicians. It was not till 1695, when a patent was received from King William and Mary, in which the limits of Surgery and Medicine were defined in a way satisfactory to both parties, that the Physicians issued a document to the effect that, having ridden the marches with the Surgeons, they had no objection to the reunion of Surgery and Pharmacy. Till the Act of 1695, the powers of the Surgeons did not go beyond the bounds of Edinburgh, but thereafter they got power "to examine all who practised Anatomy, Surgery, and Pharmacy within the three Lothians, and the counties of Peebles, Selkirk, Roxburgh, Berwick and Fife [John Gairdner's Sketch of the College of Surgeons, p. 12.]."

The commencement of the Medical School outside the university has been already referred to above. Some of the extra-mural lecturers became university Professors, and the wholesome rivalry between the extra-mural lecturer and the university Professor had a large share in the establishment of a Medical Faculty, and the creation of the now famous school of medicine.

The College of Physicians established in 1681 was followed by the College of Surgeons who got a new Royal Charter in 1694, and Anatomy began to be systematically taught, the Town Council agreeing that unclaimed dead bodies should be handed over to the lecturer on Anatomy.

The first quarter of the 18th century was a period of great activity in the Edinburgh medical world. Chairs of Anatomy, Chemistry, Medicine, and Midwifery were founded. The Town Council, under the guidance of George Drummond, the most illustrious of all the eminent Lord Provosts of Edinburgh, appreciating the whole-hearted efforts of prominent medical men to secure that Medicine, in all its branches, should be taught as fully as in any university in the world, established the Medical Faculty in 1726. To Drummond also Edinburgh owes its Royal Infirmary in 1746, and the establishment of clinical teaching so essential for the completion and success of a practical school of medicine.

Chairs of Materia Medica, and Natural History, were founded in 1768 and 1770 respectively. Others were opposed by the Senatus on the principle of conserving vested rights. The proposal of a Chair of Surgery was for a time, but only for a time, successfully opposed in the interest of Alexander Monro Secundus, the Professor of Anatomy, who claimed Surgery as his province, as it had been his father's. The Town Council, by honouring this claim, and granting a new Commission which recognised him expressly as Professor of both Anatomy and Surgery to the end of his life, paid a graceful and well-deserved tribute to the brilliant success of the Monro family as great Anatomists. The same opposition was shown to a Chair of Comparative Anatomy and Veterinary Surgery, but the founding of Chairs of Clinical Surgery, Military Surgery, and Pathology were grumblingly agreed to between 1802 and 1831, when the staff of the Medical Faculty was completed with its thirteen Professors, reduced in 1856 to twelve by the suppression of Military Surgery.

Throughout this somewhat contentious period the Town Council showed admirable breadth of view and public spirit. The success of the university and the estimation in which it was held is shown by the steady, and as time went on, rapid growth of the medical graduation lists. From the establishment of the Medical Faculty in 1726, the list lengthened in a hundred years from six to one hundred and sixty medical graduates annually, " whereof fifty were Scottish, forty-six English, thirty-six Irish, and the rest from the West Indies, Canada, and other Colonies, with a few from foreign countries [Grant's Story of Edinburgh University, I, p. 329.]." In 1783 a course of three years of medical study was imperative for graduation; in 1825 it was raised to four years. The conditions of graduation were specifically stated but somewhat loosely carried out.

From 1767 to 1834 the following, with some unimportant modifications, is a summarised account of the ordeal of medical graduation. The candidate faced a circumtabular body of Professors, each of whom asked him questions in Latin, which he answered in the same language. By answering in a dead language, probably imperfectly understood, a few questions without written papers or practical examination, the candidate got through, at a single sitting, what is now represented by the first and second professional, and the third or clinical examinations. In 1833 English took the place of Latin in both oral and written work, and, instead of the circumtabular questioning, there was a division of the subjects into two parts, the first scientific, the second professional, the examination in both parts being both written and oral. Only slight changes were made by the Commission of 1858 [Grant's Story of Edinburgh University, I, p. 333.].

In addition to the chairs founded between the middle of the 18th and the middle of the 19th century, there were others, which, though not strictly belonging to the Faculty of Arts, were placed there, as at that time the Faculty of Science did not exist. These were Astronomy in 1785, Agriculture in 1790, Music in 1839, and Technology in 1855. The Chair of Astronomy was from the first a failure, for the very sufficient reason that Government furnished a salary but no instruments, and the first Professor never had a class. On his death in 1828 the chair was vacant for four years. With the next appointment the office of Astronomer Royal for Scotland was combined. For the latter the Professor worked industriously with the observatory and instruments on Calton Hill which belonged to a private society, but he gave no lectures in the university. The next Professor, for a session or two, gave a course of lectures, but the attendance was very small, and the labour of lecturing by day and observing at night being too great, the former was given up. And so, for about one hundred years, the chair did almost nothing for education in the university.

In 1790 a Chair of Agriculture, the first gift to the university by a private benefactor, was founded by Sir William Pulteney. His claim to the patronage of the chair during his life was objected to by the Town Council as an encroachment on their constitutional rights. Other protests connected with it were made by the Professor of Natural History, and the Professor of Botany, each regarding the foundation of such a chair as an interference with his vested rights. Notwithstanding these protests the chair was inaugurated, and occupied by Dr Coventry for forty-one years, during which a great deal of very good work was done. In view of the fact that the chair was not available for graduation, an attendance ranging from 30 to 80 was rightly regarded as satisfactory. Coventry was succeeded by Professor Low in 1831, who immediately on his appointment took steps towards establishing in Edinburgh an agricultural museum. By a grant of 300 a year from the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and contributions from a variety of other sources, the museum was established at a cost of 3000. An interest in agriculture was thus aroused, and the number of students increased. Professor Low was the author of some standard works on agricultural subjects, and kept in close touch with continental agricultural societies. He was succeeded by Professor John Wilson in 1854 after a service of twenty-three years.

The Chair of Music was also a private foundation by General Reid who died in 1807. The first occupant of the Chair in 1839 was Professor Thomson who died after a short tenure of office. He was followed by two eminent English composers-Bishop, for three years, and Pierson, who seems to have never presented himself in the university. So far the Music Chair had not been a success. Professor Donaldson who was appointed in 1845 found the temporary class-room incommodious, and discontinued his lectures because the room was damp and injurious to his instruments. The foundation stone of a new music room was laid in 1858. The fund left by General Reid made provision for an annual concert, which at first took shape as a musical festival, by which choruses were trained, and musical taste cultivated. For a considerable time this has been discontinued, and five or six historical concerts have annually taken its place. Students who aim at becoming professional musicians get valuable training from the present Professor Niecks, and substantial musical scholarships have been founded.

The Chair of Technology was founded at a suggestion made by the Senatus in 1852, in connection with the charge of the very valuable Natural History collections, which had outgrown the capacity of the existing museum. A proposal was made to and accepted by Government to "take them over and place them in a national museum, which should still be an addition to and an integral part of the university." They were removed and placed temporarily in safety till the "Industrial Museum," now the Royal Scottish Museum, was built. The foundation stone was laid by Prince Albert in 1860 - among the last public acts of his life. The Queen's Commission stated that it had been thought proper to appoint a Regius Professor of "Technology in the University of Edinburgh" and "that the Director of the Industrial Museum in Scotland should be ex-officio Professor of Technology therein  [Grant's Story of Edinburgh University, I, p. 355]." George Wilson, a man of encyclopaedic knowledge, was appointed in 1855. He only lived to complete a most interesting syllabus of lectures covering three years. On his death the chair was promptly suppressed; a new Director of the museum was appointed; and the Senatus found, to their great disappointment, and with a keen sense of wrong, that they had been outmanoeuvred to the extent of losing a professorship and the Directorship of the Industrial Museum.

There are few things more remarkable in university history than the condition of the Faculty of Divinity in the middle of the 18th century. Theology, which bulked so largely in the mind of the Reformers, and the promotion of which was the leading motive in the very foundation of Edinburgh University, was the one subject which, amid the spirited development of Arts, Law, and Medicine, had lost its vitality. Since the founding of a Chair of Church History in 1702, its condition was one of stagnation for nearly one hundred and fifty years. Of the four Professors in that Faculty the Principal did practically nothing but supervise generally, attend university meetings, and confer degrees. The Hebrew class was optional and few attended it. The Professor of Church History lectured once a week for four months, and here too attendance was optional [Somerville's My own Life and Times, p. 18.]. The Divinity lectures were the only pabulum of the student, and of them "Jupiter" Carlisle says, "the Professor, though said to be learned, was dull and tedious, insomuch that, at the end of seven years, he had only lectured half through Pictet's Compend of Theology," to which he adds, with scant reverence, one advantage, "he could form no school, and the students were left entirely to themselves, and naturally formed opinions far more liberal than those they got from the Professor [Carlyle's Autobiography, p. 56.]." Hebrew was little known in Scotland, and, regenting being still the fashion, we find a Professor of Chemistry exchanging his subject for the teaching of Oriental languages, and a Professor of Greek undertaking the teaching of Hebrew. Theological teaching was almost everywhere dull and dreary. Here and there some Professors attempted to disturb the prevalent monotony by liberal and scholarly expression of their theological views, and for their reward were libelled for heresy. This type of Professor was fortunately not permanent. There were many excellent exceptions among their successors down to 1858, but this does not acquit the General Assembly of culpable neglect in the training of candidates for the ministry.

Having in the previous pages dealt with the equipment of the university with additional chairs up to 1858, some space may be profitably devoted to the relations between the Town Council and the Senatus.

In the first quarter of the 18th century there was a good deal of friction between the two bodies, as to their respective powers in the appointment of representatives to the General Assembly, and the assumption of authority by the General Assembly over the university. Such questions however have a political or municipal rather than an educational aspect, and do not call for detailed treatment. So far as they are educational, it may be said that the Town Council confined itself to the appointment of Principals and Professors, finance, and the erection of buildings, and left to the Senatus the regulation of studies and degrees. From 1728 to the end of the century harmony and co-operation were generally the characteristics. In 1768 the university buildings were shabby, and quite out of keeping with a flourishing and now famous institution. An effort was made to have them improved, but practically nothing was done till 1789, when the foundation stone was laid of the present building.

Early in the 19th century, there were differences of opinion between the Town Council and the Senatus on some comparatively unimportant points, such as matriculation and graduation fees, the appointment of a Secretary, the salary of the Librarian, &c., but the settlement of them was not difficult, nor were the consequences serious. In 1820, however, the appointment of a Professor of Moral Philosophy gave rise to a contest, the keenness of which was increased by both political considerations and the personal fitness of the two candidates between whom ultimately the struggle lay. These were Sir William Hamilton, afterwards Professor of Logic, and John Wilson, the "Christopher North" of Blackwood's Magazine. Both were highly distinguished Oxford students, the former a Whig, the latter a Tory. Both were Edinburgh advocates, but neither had found his metier in Law. Hamilton chose History and Metaphysics, Wilson devoted himself to Poetry and Literature. The struggle was a political one. A Tory Government gave Wilson its most active support, as did also Sir Walter Scott. The Whig party and press brought, against his moral character and his attitude towards religion, charges which were completely refuted by those who knew him best, and he was elected by a large majority. Though his lectures had a stronger savour of Rhetoric and Belles-Lettres than of Philosophy, the general estimate of his work has always been that his occupancy of the chair was inspiring, stimulative, and entirely healthy.

Another burning subject emerged in 1824 - whether Midwifery should be necessary for graduation. The Senatus objected and claimed all arrangements for graduation as "their own exclusive right." For this there was some excuse. They felt that the university had now become a famous institution known all over the world, and recognised in Acts of Parliament; but they forgot that the powers they used were granted to them only on sufferance, and were not based on legal right, and that the Town Council had been legally declared Masters of the College in every respect. On this point the original charter was conclusive.

To settle the matter definitely, the Senatus proposed arbitration, to which the Town Council objected and proceeded to take opinion of counsel. Professedly in the interest of the students, they proposed to hold a visitation of the college. The Senatus thinking this would be injurious to discipline, petitioned Government for a Royal Commission. The visitation however took place in 1825, and the Royal Commission was appointed in 1826. It was composed of many very eminent men, and had a much wider field than the Edinburgh disputes for the exercise of its functions.

Its task was to frame rules and ordinances for all the four universities. It was headed by Lord Aberdeen as chairman. The Senatus asked the Town Council to substitute, for their action in the Law Courts, the arbitration of the Commission, but this was found to be incompetent. At the end of three years of very hard work, the Commission issued a scheme of studies, which the Senatus wished to keep in their own hands as their special province, but omitted all reference to the constitution and government of Edinburgh University, which was the subject of prime interest and that for which the Senatus thought the Commission had been appointed.

On being informed of the disappointment caused by this omission, they formulated what seemed to them a suitable constitution. It is sufficient to state, that it was to a great extent identical with that established by the Act of 1858, and was on the whole satisfactory. The Commissioners boldly abolished some chairs in which there had never been any teaching, such as Public Law, and Practical Astronomy; others, such as Civil History and Rhetoric (the latter to be combined with Logic), in which the attendance was very small, their subjects not being necessary for degree; and Agriculture, in which there was only occasional teaching. They recommended the institution of a Chair of Political Economy, and the separation of Surgery from Anatomy. Instead of abolishing Civil History and Rhetoric, it would have been well to stimulate attention to both studies by making them necessary for graduation.

We cannot do more than advert to a few of the outstanding recommendations of this Commission, viz. that medical examinations should be conducted in English; that the teaching of Greek grammar in the college should be abolished; that entrants in the mathematical class must profess four books of Euclid and elementary Algebra; that entrants on passing a certain examination might take a three years' curriculum; that there should be two Honours grades for B.A.; that M.A. should be taken in the following year subject to additional examination; that Professors should not examine their own pupils, but that additional examiners be appointed; and that a Chair of Biblical Criticism should be established [Grant's Story of Edinburgh University, II, pp. 40-52.].

As was to be expected the scheme met with a large amount of unfavourable criticism from all the Faculties. Some of it was just, some, as was natural from the conservative leanings of the typical university, narrow and inconsistent. Over-pressure, it was said, would either kill or enfeeble both professor and student; attendance and consequently emoluments would dwindle, and the chartered rights of universities would be infringed. While it is not difficult to get to the point of view from which, seventy years ago, these fears were entertained, it must be admitted that the scheme showed an admirable breadth of vision, the accuracy of which subsequent experience has attested. The most of its recommendations have been realised and found salutary. It was not perfect; some proposals were excellent, but they were also expensive, and there were not sufficient funds for carrying them out; some were too drastic, and imposed too much labour on both professor and student. The Senatus were wrong in objecting to an entrance examination on any terms, but it is arguable that the modern entrance examination is too severe-certainly more severe than in Cambridge or Oxford. Such an examination should not be of a pitch higher than the average secondary school can meet. Time to rise to it should be given, as proposed in the scheme, and the rise should be gradual.

The Report of the Commissioners was issued in 1830, but produced no fruit for six years. In 1837 Lord Melbourne brought in a Bill, the object of which was to make the recommendations of the Commissioners operative, but it met with such strong opposition that it was dropped, and nothing more was done till 1858.

In the Law Courts the Senatus lost their case. It was decided that the Senatus had no right of making regulations "in contradiction to the Pursuers." By this it was settled that the college was subordinate to the corporation of the city and Town Council.

It cannot be said that what seemed the final settlement of the respective rights of the Senatus and Town Council was a pouring of oil on troubled waters. Occasions of quarrelling were found in every direction-the appointment of a "General Secretary of the University," increase of matriculation fees, reduction of professor's fees, admission of the public to the Museum of Natural History (which the Senatus thought should be used as a place for study), interference with Sir William Hamilton's classes, and so forth. It is scarcely an exaggeration to say that, whenever a point arose about which two antagonistic opinions were possible, the Senatus and the Council were ranged on opposite sides. On the recognition of extra-mural teaching in medicine a keen contention arose, resulting in the opinion of counsel being taken, and the Law Courts becoming again the arena of strife. Graduation was the casus belli, though it was a res judicata in 1829. On this occasion, after decision was given against the Senatus in both divisions of the Court of Session, the House of Lords confirmed the Scottish decisions.

The expediency of an entrance examination came up again for consideration in 1847, but a definite settlement was not made till 1855. Opinions differed as to whether an entrance examination, or an examination for promotion to the senior classes in Greek and Latin, was preferable. Sensible arguments were adduced for both plans, and there seems no good reason why both should not have been adopted. Professor Blackie maintained that under an entrance examination which he had held for three years, the attendance had increased. The increase must be credited to some other cause. A barrier could scarcely lead to increase. The Town Council in 1855 ordained that the rudiments of Greek grammar, and translation of fifteen chapters of St Luke should be the entrance examination, and that anyone failing to pass it in November, might try again in February. For this in 1858 there was substituted a voluntary examination for those who aimed at a three years' course.

The ecclesiastical Disruption of 1843 split up the Town Council into two antagonistic factions, and thereafter doubts were felt about its absolute impartiality in the election of Professors. A difficulty arose about the appointment of a Free Churchman to the Professorship of Hebrew, which, being an ecclesiastical chair, could be held only by a member of the Church of Scotland. The Senatus successfully opposed the appointment. Another Free Churchman, Rev. P. C. Macdougall, appointed in 1850 to the Chair of Moral Philosophy, was allowed to teach the class. As several lay Professors had been already admitted without taking the test, the Senatus did not insist on his taking it. By the passing of the Test Act in 1861, unquestionably a corollary of the Disruption, all difficulty was removed, and all university appointments, except Principalships and theological chairs, were open to all irrespective of Church connection.

We do not here enter into the details of Parliamentary action towards the university farther than to refer to the act which, in the face of judicious and generally sympathetic criticism, was by the ability of the then Lord Advocate Inglis passed in 1858. The ordinances made by the Commissioners appointed under that act regulated with a few changes the proceedings of the university till 1889, when important modifications and extensions which belong to our fourth period were introduced.


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