Imágenes de página
PDF
ePub

tellectual gladiators-long red-haired tice as he found it on the Continent. Highlanders, who feel trousers and “ In all the universities and convents shoes an infringement of the liberty there are, upon certain days, philoof the subject-square-built Lowland sophical theses maintained against farmers — flaxen - haired Orcadians, every adventitious disputant ; for and pale citizens' sons, vibrating be- wbich, if the champion opposes with tween scholarship and the tailor's any dexterity, he can claim a gratuity board or the shoemaker's last. Grim in money, a dinner, and a bed for one and silent they sit for a day, render- night. In this manner, then, I fought ing into Latin an English essay, and

my way towards England." A coldrop away one by one, depositing lection of German pamphlets, amountwith the judges the evidence of suc- ing, it is said, to upwards of a hundred cess or failure as the case may be. thousand, and called the Dietrich ColThe thing is very fairly and impar- lection, was some years ago purchased tially managed, and honourable to all by the Faculty of Advocates, and was the parties concerned.

found to consist chiefly of the academic It is indeed, as we have hinted, a theses in which the scholars of Gerrelic of the old competitive spirit many—illustrious and obscure-bad which distinguished the universities been disputing for centuries. In the as literal republics of letters, where same place, by the way, where this each man fought his own battle, and vast collection reposes, may be found gained and wore his own laurels.

the most complete living illustration Nor was his arena confined to his of the old form of impugnment. The own college. The free-masonry we anxious litigant or busy agent enterhave already alluded to opened every ing the main door of the Parliament honour and emolument to all, and the House at 9 o'clock of a morning, may Scotsman might suddenly enter the find, by an affiche to the door-post, lists at Paris, Bologna, or Upsala, or that there is to be a disputatio juridica the Spaniard might compete in Glas- under the auspices of the inclytus Diagow or Aberdeen. The records be

conus facultatis. Since the year 1693 fore us contain many forms in wbich it has been the practice of each intrant the ancient spirit has now ceased to undergo public impugpment, or, as to breathe. Already has been men- the act of Faculty says, "the publict tioned the competition for the regent- tryall of candidates, by printing and ship. The old form of the Impugn- publishing theses on the subject asment of Theses, so renowned in literary signed with corollaries, as it is obhistories, has died away as a portion served amongst other nations.” A

of the ordinary laureation. The title of the Pandects is assigned on comprehensive challenges and corre- each occasion. Thus the Faculty sponding victories attributed to the possesses more than one running comAdmirable Crichton give this prac. mentary upon that celebrated collectice a peculiar interest in the eyes of tion; and it has always been deemed Scotsmen; and it has a great place in remarkable that, considering the pumthe annals of the Reformation, since ber and varied talent of the authors of one of its main stages was the posting these theses, they should be so unithe twenty-five theses on the door of form in their Latinity and structure. the church of Würtemberg by Luther. A great innovation has lately taken But in reading these remarkable events place in sparing the cost of printing ople are apt to forget the common- the theses, and applying the amount

of the practice; and Crichton has so saved to the Faculty's magnificent nspect of a preposterous intellec

library. bully going out of his proper way Many of the old university theses are tract notice, instead of doing what very interesting as the youthful efforts in its time and circumstances as of men who have subsequently become

ry and common sense an act as eminent. Those connected with Aberng a tilt, joining a crusade, or deen are apparently the most numeg a witch. Goldsmith, in that rous. It is very noticeable, indeed,

of the intellectual vagabond that in the remote rival institutions

o evidently describes himself, there established, the spirit and practiced some relics of the practice of the Continental universities, in almost every department, had their innocently lived and dyed hee, that such most tenacious existence. As in Eng- as then hated him doo now reverence his land, the Church of Rome was succeed- memorye, and admire his works.' Prined there, not by Presbyterianism but cipal Baillie, of the opposite party, speaks Episcopacy, and there were fewer of him as ‘a meek and learned person,

[graphic]

and always with great respect : and changes in all old habits and institutions. The celebrated “ Aberdeen in 1659 to a fellow of Trinity College,

Bishop Jeremy Taylor, when writing doctors," who carried on a contro- Dublin, recommending the choice of versy with the Covenanters, met their books for 'the beginning of a theologi. zealous religionists with something call library,' named two treatises of like the old pedantic formality of the Barron's especially, and recommended academic system of disputation. They generally everything of his.'t That resolved the Covenant into a thesis, a man so honoured for his learning and and impugned it. Of this remarkable

his life should receive the indignities group of scholars we have the follow. inflicted on Barron after his death, is ing notice in Professor Innes's Pre- rather to be held as a mark of the general face :

coarseness of the time, than attributed

to the persecuting spirit of any one sect. I “Their names are now little known, “ Another of the Aberdeen doctors, except to the local antiquary ; but no William Leslie, was successively Subone who has even slightly studied the principal and Principal of King's College. history of that disturbed time is unac- The visitors of 1638 found him worthie quainted with the collective designation of censure, as defective and negligent in of 'the Aberdeen Doctors' bestowed his office, but recorded their knowledge upon the learned 'querists' of the ultra- that he was ane man of gude literature, Presbyterian Assembly of 1638, and the lyff, and conversatioun.' He was a most formidable opponents of the Solemn man,' says James Gordon, 'grave, and League and Covenant.

austere, and exemplar. The University “Of these learned divines, Dr Robert was happy in having such a light as he, Barron had succeeded Bishop Forbes in who was eminent in all the sciences his parish of Keith, and from thence was above the most of his age.' || brought on the first opportunity to be “Dr James Sibbald, Minister of St made Minister of Aberdeen, and after Nicholas, and a Regent in the University, wards Professor of Divinity in Marischal is recorded by the same contemporary : College. He is best judged by the esti- “It will not be affirmed by his very enemation of his own time, which placed myes, but that Dr James Sibbald was him foremost in philosophy and theology. ane eloquent and painefull preacher, a Bishop Sydserf characterises him as 'vir man godly, and grave, and modest, not in omni scholastica theologia et omni tainted with any vice unbeseeming a literatura versatissimus :' 'A person minister, to whom nothing could in reason of incomparable worth and learning,' be objected, if you call not his ante-cosays Middleton, ‘he had a clear appre- venanting a cryme.'| Principal Baillie, hension of things, and a rare facultie of while condemning his Arminian doctrines, making the hardest things to be easily says—The man was, there, of great understood.'* Gordon of Rothiemay says, fame.'

He was one of those who maintained the “ Dr Alexander Scroggy, minister in unanswerable dispute (in 1638) against the Cathedral Church, first known to the the Covenante, which drew upon him both world as thought worthy to contribute to ther envye, hate, and calumneyes; yet so the ‘ Funerals of his patron and friend,

* Appendix to Spottiswood, p. 29.

+ Dr J. H. Todd, who first published this letter, (English Church man, Jan. 11, 1849), supposed Bishop Taylor to be speaking of Dr Peter Barron of Cambridge, but afterwards, on the evidence being communicated to him, was entirely satisfied, and corrected his mistake. “The author referred to (writes Dr Todd) is certainly Dr Robert Barron of Aberdeen, a divine of whom the Church of Scotland may be justly proud."-- Irish Ecclesiastical Journal, March 1849.

# Upon an allegation of unsoundness of doctrine in some of his works, the General Assembly of 1640 dragged his widow, in custody of a “rote of musketiers," from her retreat in Strathislay, to enable them to search his house for his manuscripts and letters, a year after his death. The proceedings add some circumstances of inhumanity to the old revolting cases not unknown in Scotland, where a dead man was dug out of his grave to be placed at the bar, tried and sentenced.

§ P. 288. | Vol. iii. p. 331. I History of Scots Afairs, vol. iii. p. 231. Bishop Forbes,* is described in 1640 by Puritan party receded from the learnGordon as 'a man sober, grave, and ing of some of their first teachers, literapainefull in his calling;'+ and by Baillie ture became here, as afterwards in Eng. as 'ane old man, not verie corrupt, yet land, the peculiar badge of Episcopacy. perverse in the Covenant and Service- With Episcopacy went, hand in hand, the book.' His obstinacy yielded under high assertion of royal authority; and the weight of old age and the need of influenced as it had been by Bishop rest, but he is not the more respected for Patrick Forbes and his followers, Aberthe questionable recantation of all his deen became, and continued for a century early opinions. I

to be, not only a centre of northern aca“Foremost, by common consent, among demic learning, but a little stronghold of that body of divines and scholars, was loyalty and Episcopacy-the marked seat John Forbes, the good bishop's son. He of high Cavalier politics and anti-Puritan had studied at King's College, and, after sentiments of religion and church govern. completing his education in the approved ment. manner by a round of foreign universi- “ That there was a dash of pedantry ties, returned to Scotland to take his in the learning of that Augustan age of doctor's degree, and to be the first pro- our University, was the misfortune of the fessor in the chair of theology, founded age, rather than peculiar to Aberdeen. and endowed in our University by his The literature of Britain and all Europe, father and the clergy of the diocese. Dr except Italy, was still for the most part John Forbes's theological works have scholastic, and still to a great degree been appreciated by all critics and stu- shrouded in the scholastic dress of a dead dents, and have gone some way to remove langnage; and we must not wonder that the reproach of want of learning from the northern University exacted from the divines of Scotland. His greatest her divines and philosophers, even from undertaking, the Instructiones historico- her historians and poets, that they should theologice, which he left unfinished, use the language of the learned. After Bishop Barnett pronounces to be 'a work all, we owe too much to classical learning which, if he had finished it, and had been to grudge that it should for a time have suffered to enjoy the privacies of his re- overshadowed and kept down its legiti. tirement and study to give us the second mate offspring of native literature. We volume, had been the greatest treasure never ought to forget,' writes one worthy of theological learning that perhaps the to record the life and learning of Andrew world has yet received.

Melville, that the refinement and the “ These were the men whom the bishop science, secular and sacred, with which drew into the centre and heart of the modern Europe is enriched, must be sphere which he had set himself to illu- traced to the revival of ancient literature, minate ; and in a short space of time, by and that the hid treasures could not have their united endeavours, there grew up been laid open and rendered available around their Cathedral and University a but for that enthusiasm with which the society more learned and accomplished languages of Greece and Rome were than Scotland had hitherto known, which cultivated in the fifteenth and sixteenth spread a taste for literature and art be- centuries.'ll yond the academic circle, and gave a “ It is not to be questioned that in the tone of refinement to the great commer- literature of that age, and in all departcial city and its neighbourhood.

ments of it, Aberdeen stood pre-eminent. “It must be confessed cultivation was Clarendon commemorates the 'many exnot without bias. It would seem that, cellent scholars and very learned men in proportion as the Presbyterian and under whom the Scotch universities,

* Aberdeen, 1635. + Vol. iii. p. 227.

# In the Presbytery of Aberdeen, 26th May 1642. He died in 1659, in the ninety-fifth year of his age.

§ Life of Bishop BedellPreface. Of most of these theological authors I am obliged to speak in the language of others. I have not even, in all cases, read the works which have formed their character.

|| Dr M Crie's Life of Melville, vol. ii. p. 445. It is with hesitation that any one who has benefited by this work will express a difference of opinion from its author. But it seems to me that Dr M'Crie has been led by his admiration for Andrew Melville to rate too highly an exercise in which he excelled. The writing of modern Latin poetry, however valuable as a part of grammatical education, has, in truth, never been an effort of imagination or fancy ; and its products, when most successful, have never produced the effect of genuine poetry on the mind of the reader.

[ocr errors]

and especially Aberdeen, flourished.' * “ While these writers were illustrating 'Bishop Patrick Forbes,' says Burnet, the history of their country in prose, a 'took such care of the two colleges in crowd of scholars were writing poetry, his diocese, that they became quickly or, at least, pouring forth innumerable distinguished from all the rest of Scot- copies of elegant Latin verses. While land.

They were an honour to the two Johnstons were the most distin." the Church, both by their lives and by guished of those poets of Aberdeen, John their learning; and with that excellent Leech, once Rector of our University, temper they seasoned that whole diocese, David Wedderburn, rector of the Gramboth clergy and laity, that it continues mar School, and many others, wrote and to this very day very much distinguished published pleasing Latin verse, which from all the rest of Scotland, both for stands the test of criticism. While it learning, loyalty, and peaceableness.' + cannot be said that such compositions

That this was no unfounded boast, produce on the reader the higher effects as regards one department of learning, of real poetry, they are not without has been already shown, in enumerating value, if we view them as tests of the the learned divines who drew upon Aber- cultivation of the society among which deen the general attention soon after the they were produced. Arthur Johnston death of their bishop and master. In not only addresses elegiacs to the bishop secular learning it was no less distin- and his doctors, throwing a charming guished. No one excelled Robert Gordon classical air over their abstruser learning, of Straloch in all the accomplishments but puts up a petition to the magistrates that honour the country gentleman. of the city, or celebrates the charms of Without the common desire of fame or Mistress Abernethy, or the embroideries any more sordid motive, he devoted his of the Lady Lauderdale-all in choice life and talents to illustrate the history Latin verse, quite as if the persons whom and literature of his country. He was he addressed appreciated the language of the prime assistant to Scotstarvet in his

the poet. I two great undertakings, the Atlas and Intelligent and educated strangers, the collections of Scotch poetry. I The both foreigners and the gentry of the maps of Scotland in the Great Atlas north, were attracted to Aberdeen; and (many of them drawn by himself, and its colleges became the place of education the whole 'revised' by him at the earnest for a higher class of students than had entreaty of Charles I.), with the topo- hitherto been accustomed to draw their graphical descriptions that accompany philosophy from a native source. I them, are among the most valuable con- “If it was altogether chance, it was a tributions ever made by an individual to very fortunate accident, which placed in the physical history of his country. His the midst of a society so worthy of comson, James Gordon, parson of Rothiemay, memoration a painter like George Jamiefollowed out his father's great objects sone, the pupil of Rubens, the first, and, with admirable skill, and in two particu- till Raeburn, the only great painter whom lars he merits our gratitude even more. Scotland had produced. Though he was He was one of the earliest of our coun- a native of Aberdeen, it is not likely that trymen to study drawing, and to apply it anything but the little court of the bishop to plans and views of places; and, while could have induced such an artist to prohe could wield Latin easily, he conde- secute his art in a provincial town. An scended to write the history of his time academic orator in 1630, while boasting in excellent Scotch.

of the crowd of distinguished men, natives

[ocr errors]

Ilistory of the Rebellion. Oxford, 1826. Vol. i. p. 145. + Life of Bishop Bedell— Preface.

# Dilitiæ poetarum Scotorum hujus ævi illustrium, and fifth volume of the Great Atlas—both published by John Blaeu at Amsterdam, the former in 1637, the latter in 1654.

§ Joannis Leochaei Scoti musc. Londini, 1620. Leech was Rector of the University in 1619.

|| “Ad Senatum Aberdonensem;” “Tumulus Joannis Colissonii ;” “De Abrenethæa;" “ De aulæis acu-pictis D. Isabellæ Setonæ Comitissæ Laderdeliæ.Epigrammata Arturi Jonstoni, Scoti, Medici Regii, Abredoniæ : excudebat Edvardus Rabanus, 1632.

STRachan's Panegyricus. Among the strangers he distinguishes Parkins, an Englishman who had, the year before (1630), obtained a degree of M.D. in our University. The earliest diploma of M.D. I have seen is that which I have noted (somewhat out of place) among the academic prints, and which was granted in 1697.

son.

and strangers, either produced by the sition, and hence Charteris, the princiUniversity, or brought to Aberdeen by pal, “ being naturally averse from the bishop, was able to point to their public show, and professor of dipictures ornamenting the hall where his vinity,” transferred the duty of leadaudience were assembled. Knowing by ing the discussion to Professor Adamwhom these portraits were painted, we

The form adopted was the good cannot but regret that so few are pre

old method of the impugnment of served." *

theses, so many being appointed to Keeping, however, to the matter of defend, and so many to impugn; “but academic impugnment, we shall now they insisted only upon such purposes turn to an instance of its incidental as were conceived would be most occurrence in that University, which, acceptable to the king's majesty and from its late origin, was least imbued the auditory.” with the spirit of the Continental The first thesis was better suited system.

for the legislature than an academic The visit of King James to his body, and there must have been some ancient kingdom in 1617, afforded the peculiar reason for bringing it on. It half-formed collegiate institution in was, “that sheriffs and other inferior Edinburgh an opportunity for a rhe- magistrates should not be hereditary," torical display, which ended in sub- which was oppugned by Professor stantial advantages. Tired with busi- Lands " with many pretty argu. ness at Holyrood, and in the enjoyment ments." The king was so pleased of full eating and drinking, and drive with the oppugnation, that he turned to ing our" at his quieter palace of Stir- the Marquis of Hamilton, hereditary ling, he betbought himself of a rhe- sheriff of Clydesdale, and said, torical pastime with the professors of “James, you see your cause lostthe new University, wherein he could and all that can be said for it clearly not fail to luxuriate in the scholastic satisfied and answered.” N.-B. It is quibbling with which his mind was just worth noticing that the College so well crammed, and he was pretty and the Marquis were then at feud. certain of enjoying an ample banquet There was a question about the possesof success and applause. Hence, as sion of the old lodging of the HamilThomas Crawford the annalist of the ton family, then constituting a coninstitution informs us, “ It pleased his siderable portion of the University majesty to appoint the maisters of the edifices. The “gud old nobleman," college to attend him at Sterling the his father, had been easily satisfied, 29th day of July, where, in the royal but the young man was determined to chapel, his majesty, with the flower of stand upon his rights, and, though he the nobility, and many of the most could not recover possession, get somelearned men of both nations, were thing in the shape of rent or damages; present, a little before five of the nor would he take the judicious hint clock, and continued with much chear- that "so honourable a personage fulness above three hours."

would never admit into his thoughts The display was calculated to be to impoverish the patrimony of the rather appalling to any man who had young University, which had been so much diffidence or reserve in his dispo- great an ornament, and so fruitful an

.

# “ Patricius supremas dignitates scholasticas in viros omni laude majores (quorum tos hic rultus videtis) qui vel ipsas dignitates honorarunt, conferri curavit. Quid memorem Sandilandios, Rhætos, Baronios, Scrogios, Sibbaldos, Leslæos, maxima illa nomina.

Deus mi! quanta dici celebritas, quo tot pileati patres, theologiæ, juris et medicinæ doctores et baccalaurei de gymnasio nostro velut agmine facto prodierunt !” He alludes to the strangers attracted by the fame of the society -to the divines, Forbes, Barron, &c.—to the physicians. 'Quantus medicorum grex ! quanta claritas !

Quantum uterque Jonstonus, ejusdem uteri, ejusdem artis fratres. Mathesi profunda, quantum poesi et impangendis carminibus valeant, novistis. Arthurus medicus Regis et divinus poeta elegiæ et epigrammatis, quibus non solum suæ ætatis homines superat verum antiquissimos quosque æquat. Gulielmus rei herbariæ et mathematum, quorum professor meritissimus est, gloria cluit. De Gulielmo certe idem usurpare possumus.

* Deliciæ est humani generis,' tanta est ejus comitas, tanta urbanitas."

« AnteriorContinuar »