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the pleasure he took in the business of education, with the success which attended their joint labours, in the production in a short time of many well disciplined in theology, canon and civil law, and very many in philosophy—"permulti in philosophia"1 The merit of his labours must have been acknowledged, since, after filling the office of Sub-principal for a long period, upon the death of Boece in 1586, he was chosen to succeed his friend as Primarius or Principal of the College.1
And all alongst ray led is,
And battail'd to look oar.
Which how long't stands and stayes,
Unto the author's praise."
Of the College buildings—" a manour for the muses meit"—we have not much:—
... he builds
A fabrick firm and fair,
Of polished stones and squair,
Lights of discolor'd glass.
A strait strong steeple too,
A pleasant princelie frame,
Deck't with a diadem."
H. Boece died probably in 1536, for on 22 November, in that year, the King presented John Garden to the rectory of Tyrie, vacant by the death of Mr. Hector Bois.
A good deal of misapprehension has existed about the emoluments of the first Principal of the Bishop's College. Dr. Johnson, like all modern English writers, mistook the ancient constitution of Universities, when ho spoke of Boece as "president of the University," and was misled as to the old value of Scotch money, when he called his '* revenue of 40 Scottish marks about £2. 4s. 6d. of English money." The depreciation of our currency had indeed begun, but had by no means reached the height here supposed, in the times of James IV. and James V. Without entering on a complicated and difficult enquiry in a note, it may be a sufficient correction of this error to point to one or two ascertained facts. In the year 1365, the
coinage of Scotland was ordered by Parliament to be equivalent and conformable to the current money of England. In 1525, the Scotch gold crowns, with an alloy of only s twenty-fourth part, were of the weight of nine to the ounce, and passed for twenty shillings each: the silver groat, proportionably fine, of which eleven weighed an ounce, passed for eighteenpence. Uncoined gold was then bought at £7 by the ounce, aud silver for 17s.—Acts of the Parliament of Scotland, vol. 11. Forty marks, £20. 13s. 4d. Scotch currency, was certainly a better provision in Scotland then, considering the expense of living in the two countries, than £26. 13s. 4d. sterling would have been in England; Bo trifling was the degradation of our currency in Bocce's time. The learned Dr. Irving has also pointed out that this was not the only preferment which Boece enjoyed. He held the rectory of Tyrie as a Canon of the Cathedral. Moreover, in 1527, the year of the publication of his history, King James V. bestowed upon him a pension of £50, which apparently was doubled two years later.—Liber Eetpontionum in Scaccario. These sources of income considered, there is no reason to doubt that, in emolument, as well as in social position, Hector Boece was greatly above any Principal of a Scotch College of the present day.
1 In his Lives of the Bishops, published in 1522, Boece gives a list of scholars distinguished in theology, law, and philosophy, who had already been educated at Aberdeen, p. 62-3.
The only other of Boece's original coadjutors whom he commemorates, is John Vaus the grammaticus, or humanist, as that teacher was afterwards called—" in hoe genere disciplines admodum eruditus, sertnone elegans, sententiis venustus, labore inviclus.^ Little is known of him; yet it can never be said we are altogether unacquainted with one who has written and printed books.
1 Among the M.SS. in the Library of King's College is a collection from various authors forming a supplement to the commentary of Marsilius do Inghen on the fourth book of the " Sentences" of Peter Lombard, marked several times with W. Hay's namo, as its compiler. At the end is this note: "Absolntum utquumque est hoc opns super sacramentum matrimonii et impedimenta ejusdem, in alma Universitate Aberdonensi collectnm, promulgatum et |publice lectam in magnis scholis Regalia Collegii Aberdonensis, coram theologorum ibidem connenientium solenni anditorio, per venerabilem virum magistrum Ouilermum Hay prefati collegii pro tempore subprincipalem; ejusdemqne impensis et sumptibus in hanc publicam luccm redactutn per manum sui proprii scribe, viz., fratris Ouilermi Scenan, Carmelite, cojus labore et industria in ethicis atque plerisque aliisque codicibus per enm collectis usns est prcfatus Subprincipalii, A.d. 153d, mensis Julii 23. Regnantc Jacobo quinto Scotorum principe inTictissimo; venerandoque patre et domino d. Vilelmo Stewart sedem episcopalem Aberdonensem dexterrime moderante."
* Vit. Ei if., p. 66. Vaus has left some interesting grammatical works, though now ehiefly valued by the bibliographer. They arc extremely rare. His first book—a commentary on the 1 Doctrinale' or rhythmical elements of Latin Grammar of Alexandrians—is printed by the Ascensii at Paris.
It is a small quarto without pagination. The signatures are A—M, each of eight leaves. On M. vii. r. is the colophon, Sub prtlo Atcensiano Ad Idut Martin, M D xxii. The introduction, by Iodocus Badius Ascensius, addressed StudiosU Abredonensis Accidentic e philotophit, commends the labour of Vans, and his courage in venturing through the dangers of pirates and a stormy sea to the press of Ascensius to get his rudiments multiplied. He speaks of him as nostri ttudiosut et nostrc e profetsionis admiralor insignis; and of his own favour for the new University, idque nominibus et multis et gravibus, primo quod ejut procerei et intlitutoret fere ex hac nostra Parisienti et orti et pro/ecti sunt. Then comes an address by Joannes Vaus himself to his scholars, who all knew, he says, quanta pluseulii jam annis et mihi docendi et vobis discendi molettia ac difficultas fuerit ob librorum prcetertim penuriam et teribentium dictata nottra ncgligentiam ac imperitiam. He boasts a little of his courageous journey to Paris—per maxima terrarum ct marium discrimina, piratarumque qui injustissimi runt latrocinia, and acknowledges his obligation to his printer, Ascensius, in re grammatica doctiuimui. The volume concludes with an epistle from Robert Gray, who had been a pupil of Vans, and a Regent at Aberdeen, but dates from Paris ex collegio bonc e curia, exhorting the stndious youth of Aberdeen to imitate his and their common preceptor, John Vaus—
optimis literii, amcenissimo ingcnio, suavissimis moribus singulari prMtate, gravitate, fide alque constantia prceditum.
The next work which we know of Vaus is, " Rudimenta pucrorum in arlem grammaticam, per Joannem Vaus Scotum." The first edition is not known. The second gives no introduction nor personal notice of its author. It is n small quarto, not paged, with signatures, double letters, A—H, all of eight leaves, except G and H, which have each only six. A fine colophon of the Ascensian press gives, Huec rudimenta Grammatices im~ pressa sunt rursus prelo lodoci Badii Ascensii Scoticos linguc e imperiti: proinde si quid in ea erratum est, minus est mirandum. Finem autem acceperunt viii Calend. Novvemb. 1531. This is a good specimen of early printing, especially the part in black letter, and beyond measure valuable to a Scotchman studious of the early language of his country, a great part of the book being in Scotch, though devoted only to Latin Grammar. Indicalivo modo it translated "6chauand mode," Optativo modo, "yarnand mode." In the chapter de verba wo find—" The imperative mode, it biddis or exhortis, as ama, lwf thow: amemus, lwf we. The optativo mode it yairnes or desiris, as vtinam amarem. The coniunctiue mode it spekis of dowt, as cum amem, quhen i lwf." The chapter dc construetione oratoria ends thus; "Bot yit of ane thing vill ye be aduertit, that rewlis of oratre ar changeable eftyr the iugment of weill imbutit eiris, for nay thing is mair delectable in eloquens thane varicte, and craiftius spekyne without greit apperans of the sammyn, for les offendis the cir (at the leist in our quotidiane spekyne) facile fluand congruito thane thrawine effekkit eloquens apperand ouyr crafty."
Another edition of the "Rudimenta," with many changes and a different concluding chapter, has the title Rudimenta artis grammaticce per io. vavs scotvm sclecta el tn duo diuisa . . . Parisiis ex officina Roberti Masselin, 1553. Vaus had been long dead, and at the end of this edition, is an address by Alexander Skene, congratulating Master Theophilus Stewart (the humanist) and the students at Aberdeen sub illius ferula militantibus, on the completion of the work which he had conducted. The book is of the same size with the former; the signatures A—E all eights, except O which has only five leaves, A—D all fours. At D ii are three pages of the " Statuta et leges ludi literarii Grammaticorum Aberdonensium" which have been printed in the Miscellany of the Spalding Club, vol. V.,p. 399. The boys might not speak in the vernacular, but were indulged in "Latin, Greek, Hebrew, French, or Gaelic!"
These several works or editions of Vaus in the- library of King's College are at present bound up with a tract of Joannes Ferrerius, defending the poetry of Cicero, Paris, 1540. This last is dedicated to Bishop William Stewart in an epistle (dated at Kynlos, 4 Cal. December, 1534) which speaks of the University of Aberdeen as then of high reputation—celeberrimam apud Scotos hoc potissimum tempore (absit verbo invidia) Academiam. Ferrerius does not help us to new names, but his notice shows that the continental scholar esteemed the teachers of the new school, while he excited them to greater exertions. "Viros quos habes in ditione tua doctissimos et vcteranos in re literaria milites, hue bene adigas, viz., ut scholas in tantum curent no quid etiam apud Scotos in melioribus
It is pleasant to mark the history of our University by the contemporary progress of the art which seems so essential to learning, that we cannot now easily conceive how education could go on without it. It was apparently by the influence of the founder of King's College that the first printing press was established in Scotland ;1 and its first sustained effort was in giving to the world his "Breviary of Aberdeen." Twelve years later, two of the teachers were at press with works connected with the University—Boece with his Lives of the Bishops of Aberdeen, and John Vaus with his first Essay in Grammar.
We have no means of ascertaining the success and popularity of the new school in its first age. The number of. its students must have been considerable, to have afforded such a list of distinguished scholars as Boece collected before 1522. We might suspect some partiality or compliment in the praises of the Parisians, who regarded Aberdeen as the daughter of their own University, but Ferrerius had no such motive, when in 1534 he spoke of Aberdeen as the most celebrated of the Scotch Universities at that time.
litcris ilesiderari possit amplius. Ncc est quod Tereare ne non sint hi qui tuis in hac parte votis respondere possint. Sunt enim multi quos probe (nisi mea me fallit opinatio) novi, qui ab eruditione mtiltiplici, non Aberdoniis tantum sed et in praestantUsima universi orbis academia principem locum mcritissime ac preter omnem ambitionem retinere queant. Quid enim cum in cjclicis discipliiiis omnibus, tura historiis Hectore illo Boethio eruditius simul ct elegantius! quid in sacrarum literarum mystcriis Ouliclmo Haye expedilius et jucundius! ad sublcvandas autem corporum Eegrotationes, geographiaeque peritiam, quid Roberto Gray doctorc medico magis aptum atque blandum cogitari potest! In sacra. rum vcro canonum ct pontiGciarum lcgum
rcsponsis non facile invenies quera cum Arthuro Boethio componas. Postremo loco (ut reliquos interim ornatos et peritos viros omittam) quid illo Joanne Vaus nostra in re grammatica et omnibus bonis Uteris tradundis vigilantius! Pnetereo et illud cum aliis multis referre, quibus videlicet moribus gentis vestno universam nobilitatem jam olim ornaro non desinat."
1 The Royal privilege granted 15th September, 1507, to Chepman and Millar, refers especially to the printing of " legendis of Scottis sanctis as is now gaderit and ekit be ane Reverend fader in God, William, Bishop of Abirdeno.'' Reg. of Priv. Seal. The Aberdeen Breviary with its treasure of "legends of Scottis Sanctis" was printed by Chepman in 1509-10.
The year 1541 was one of great honour to our University. In the summer of that year, James V. and his queen, after the death of the two infant princes, made a progress to the north, and were entertained by the Bishop of Aberdeen for fifteen days, being lodged apparently in the College buildings.1 Bishop Leslie, who must have been present, informs us, that they were received there " with diverse triumphes and playes maid be the town, and be the university and sculis theirof, and remainit thair the space of fiftein dayes weill entertenit be the bishop; quhair ther was exercise and disputationes in all kind of sciences in the college and sculis, with diverse oratiouns maid in Greke, Latine, and uther languages, quhilk wes mickell commendit be the King and Quene and all thair company."
These imperfect notices of the prosperity of the University bring us to the verge of that great revolution which after years of struggle and convulsion was consummated in 1560. It is not to be expected that, during the fierce contest, either the actors on the scene, or those who have recorded their acts, should bestow much attention on the seats where education was still doing her noiseless work. We know few of those who were teachers at Aberdeen before and at the era of the Reformation, but it would appear the members of the College, like the members of the Chapter of Aberdeen, were of that party more numerous than is supposed, who acknowledged, and would willingly have corrected, some
1' Rex deinde ac plurima nobilitas Reginam ad Aberdonensem Academiam comitahantur' etc. What is in the text is from the Bishop's original Scotch, which ho distilled into his Latin history, p. 159. The two differ slightly. In the Latin, among the entertainments, he particularises comedies in the theatre; controversies ex omni artium genere depromptce; and speeches —oratiuncs Grceca Latinaque lingua summo artificio instruclm.—Edit. 1575, p. 430.
The comedic e were no doubt same of the "mysteries" then so common in church festivities. The orations in Greek are more remarkable, and somewhat at variance with our information of the introduction of Greek literature in Scotland. They may have been mere slight attempts at using the new language. The dale of the Royal progress has been corrected from the Burgh Register of Aberdeen. Leslie places it a year too early, as Pinkerton has observed. II. 371.