Imagens da página
PDF

restless, and successful teachers migrated from college to college, from Paris to Louvain, from Orleans to Angers, from Padua to Bologna, as men in later times completed their education by the Grand Tour. The University feeling and the universal language of that day conduced somewhat to this effect. A graduate of one University was * free' of all. His qualifications were on the surface too, and easily tested. A single conference settled a man's character, where ready Latin and subtle or vigorous disputation were the essential points. But whatever were the causes, the student of the history of those centuries must be struck with the facts. The same period which saw Florence Wilson, Serymger, the elder Barclay, received among the foremost scholars of Europe, in its most learned age, witnessed also three Scotsmen professors at Sedan' at one and the same time, and two, if not three, together at Leyden.2 John Cameron, admirably learned, lecturing everywhere, everywhere admired, moved, in 1600, from Glasgow to Bergerac, from Bergerac to Sedan, from Sedan to Paris, from Paris to Bordeaux, to Geneva, to Heidelberg, to Saumur, to Glasgow, again to Saumur, to Montauban, there to rest at last. But the type of the class was Thomas Dempster, a man of proved learning and ability, but whose adventures in love and arms, while actually 'regenting' at Paris, at Tournay, at Toulouse, at Nimes, in Spain, in England, at Pisa, at Bologna, were as romantic as those of the admirable Crichton, or Cervantes' hero. Incidentally to his own history, Dempster makes us acquainted with four Scotchmen of letters, whom he met at Louvain. He visited James Cheyne, a Scotch doctor at Tournay; succeeded David Sinclair as Regent in the college of Navarre at Paris, and was invited by Professors Adam Abernethy, and Andrew Currie, to join them at Montpellier.8

1 Walter Donaldson, professor of Greek * It is much to be regretted that Dr. and principal, Andrew Melville, John Smith. M'Crie did not find room for his notes of the

2 Gilbert Jack, James Ramsay, John Mur- Scotch teachers in the Protestant academies dison, in 1603, or a little earlier. of France in the time of Andrew Melville:

Of those expatriated Scots, scattered through the Universities of the continent, Aberdeen had produced her share. Florence Wilson, who deseribes his native scenes by the banks of the Lossy, under the towers of Elgin, was equal to his friend Buchanan in easy graceful Latinity. He was a Greek scholar also, and taught Greek in 1540. But that part of his education could hardly be got at his native University. William Barclay, the great jurist—father of John, the author of the admirable romance the Argenis—David Chalmers of Ormond, besides multitudes of mere professors, kept up the reputation of King's College abroad, while there were not wanting at home men of high name in literature, who owed their instruction to the Northern University. The depression, which is visible at the visitation of 1549, continued during the actual storm of the Reformation. In 1562, when Queen Mary made her northern progress, accompanied by the English ambassador, Randolph wrote from Aberdeen: "The Quene, in her progresse, is now come as far as Olde Aberdine, the Bishop's seat, and where also the Universitie is, or at the least, one college with fiftene or sixteen scollers." 1

We shall form a high opinion of the reformed University, if we judge of it by the first Principal of its College. Alexander Arbuthnot, "a gentleman born of the house of Arbuthnot in Mearns,* being trained up in the study of letters, and having passed

—" The number of Scotchmen, he says, who taught in these seminaries was great. They were to be found in all the Universities and Colleges; in several of them they held the honourable situation of Principal, and in others they amounted to a third part of the Professors."—Life of Melville. 2d edit., p. 279. A list of these, with such biographical notices as could be gathered, and a similar list of the Scotch scholars, then and a little earlier, driven out for their attachment to the Roman Catholic tenets, would

form an exceedingly interesting chapter of Scotch literary history. It must be remembered too that there was a class of Universities where no ' test' was in use, and in Italy especially, the learned man was encouraged to teach in his peculiar province without exclusion of creed or country.—Sir W. Hamiton's " discussions on philosophy" p. 359.

1 To Cecil, 31 Aug., 1562, in Chalmers' Life of Ruddiman, p. 7—note.

1 He was the son of Andrew Arbuthnott in Pitcarles, by his wife Elizabeth Strachan

the course of philosophy in the College of St. Andrews, went to France at the age of twenty-three years. There, applying himself to the laws, he lived five years an auditor of that great Doctor Cujacius, and being made licentiate, returned to Scotland in the year 1566, of purpose to follow that calling. But God otherwise disposing, in the year 1569 he was made principal of the College of Aberdeen, where, by his diligent teaching, and dexterous government, he not only revived the study of good letters, but gained many from the superstitions whereunto they were given. He was greatly loved of all men, hated of none, and in such account for his moderation with the chief of men of these parts, that without his advice they could almost do nothing, which put him in great fashery, whereof he did often complain. Pleasant and jocund in conversation, and in all sciences expert; a good poet, mathematician, philosopher, theologue, lawyer, and in medicine skillful, so as in every subject he could promptly discourse, and to good purpose."1 This is a favourable testimony by the Archbishop to a leader of the anti-episcopal party.

Arbuthnott was the friend and associate of the Melvilles, and a chief among that small section of the kirk who, themselves most learned, felt the necessity of reforming education as a means of religious reformation. James Melville never names him without commendation. He relates that, after the General Assembly of 1575, his uncle and he "past to Angus, in companie with Mr. Alexander Arbuthnot, a man of singular gifts of lerning, wesdome, godliness and sweitnes of nature, then Principall of Aberdein, whom withe Mr. Andro communicat anent the haill ordour of his collage in doctrine

of Thornton. Andrew was fourth son of ander was minister of Arbuthnot and Logie

Robert Arbuthnott of that ilk, by his second Buchan, before he became Principal of King's

wife Mariot Scrimgeour.—Originis et incre. College.

menti Arbuthnoticce families descriptio his. 'Spottinvood'i History. II., p. 319, Edit.,

toxica—a MS. compiled by the Principal 1850. himself and preserved at Arbuthnot. Alex

and discipline, and aggreitas therefter was sett clown in the new reformation of the collages of Glasgow and Aberdein." 1 At another time, this best of gossips, recalls the pleasant society in the house of his father-in-law John Dury, where the ministers of Edinburgh used to meet—"with a wonderful consent in varietie of giftes, all strak on a string and sounded a harmonie"—and where, at the seasons of the General Assembly, they were joined by still more eminent men: "Ther ludgit in his house at all these Assemblies in Edinbruche for common, Mr. Andro Melvill, Mr. Thomas Smeton, Mr. Alexander Arbuthnott, thrie of the lernedest in Europe . . . with sum zelus godlie barrones and gentilmen. In tyme of mealles, was reasoning upon guid purposes, namlie,2 maters in hand; therefter ernest and lang prayer; therefter a chaptour read, and everie man about gaiff his not and observation thereof; sua that giff all haid bein sett down in wryt, I haiff hard the lernedest and of best judgment say, they wald nocht haiff wissed a fuller and better commentar nor sum tymes wald fall out in that exercise."3 Principal Arbuthnot died in 1583; Spottiswood says he was in the forty-fifth year of his age, and that he was buried in the College Church.4

Arbuthnot's communication with Andrew Melville without doubt gave rise to that famous "new foundation" of King's College, which was the subject of such contention afterwards. Like the parallel measure for Glasgow, it went to break down all the usages and feelings of a University, setting up a teaching institution in its place.5 On this account we cannot regret that it was abortive,6 but some of

1 Mr. Jamet Melville's Diary, p. 41. forging, and " to redact all ihe foundation to

'Namely, i. c. especially. ane bair scoolo of philosophie,'' p. 286. 3 Mr. James Melville's Diary, p. 60. * Notwithstanding the vehement assertions

'p. 319. of the charter of the new foundation having

'Charles I. speaks very indignantly of been "privilie destroyed," (p. 287) it seems

the attempt to abolish the ancient and true more probable it was never completed. The

foundation, and to bring in one of their own ratification in Parliament, 1597, (p. 139),

e

its provisions were evident improvements upon the existing practice, if not on the original foundation. The teachers were to he confined, each to one department, and not as hitherto, each to take his students through the four years of their course, a change sanctioned hy the universal practice of the present day, yet not without leaving some cause of regret for the better acquaintance that must have existed between the teacher and the scholars when they journeyed in company through their whole academic life.1 The Canonist and Medicus were to be abolished. If the functions of the former were abrogated by the Reformation, that reason could hardly affect the latter.

It is unfortunate that we have no documents to show how the University throve under Arbuthnot's presidency, nor any lists of graduates or students that might serve to prove the inerease which we must believe would follow his improved discipline. We know that he introduced the study of Greek, and if, in other things, he followed Andrew Melville's example, as shown at Glasgow and St. Andrews, where that zealous scholar set himself to educate teachers for future generations of students, we may look to Arbuthnot as the fountain of that theological learning and classical and literary taste which distinguished Aberdeen for a century after his own labours had ceased. The number of students when we first become acquainted with it, at the beginning of the seventeenth century, had, indeed, much inereased since the "fifteen or sixteen

points to it as a charter still to be " revised;" Regent taught the same students from the first

and the copy which Dr. M'Crie used was of to the fourth year, (p. 449.) The first oc

such an inchoate charter, wanting the con. casion when that order was broken through,

eluding solemnities of date, witnessing, and seems to have been in 1628, (p. 459), but the

sealing.—Life of Melville, 2nd edit., II., innovation was short lived, and the old sys

p. 475. tem prevailed down to the end of the last

1 The new system had either not been en- century ; being retained chiefly, it is said, at

forced, or had fallen into disuse immediately last, from respect for the opinion of Dr.

after Arbuthnot's death. The lists of in. Thomas Rcid. trants from 1601 downwards, show that a

« AnteriorContinuar »