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understand and appreciate them. One instance of this, and that the highest, is from Aberdeen. John Barbour was Archdeacon of the diocese in the middle of the fourteenth century. He had received a Churchman's education, of course, and we know that after the usual age of education was over, he studied at Oxford and in France. His great poem shows him to have been imbued with the accomplishments of his age; and yet, long before the office man and the diplomatist had escaped from the fetters of Latin, he ventured to speak to bis countrymen of their Hero in the language of their nursery and home. We may doubt as to the manner of the education of the people, but it is unreasonable to suppose that such a poet wrote for a people altogether uneducated, rude, and illiterate.
But this is not left to speculation. All the greater towns had grammar schools, from the earliest period to which our records reach. The Monks of Kelso were patrons of a burgh school of importance in the ancient town of Roxburgh in the time of William the Lion;' and Dunfermlin had the profits of endowed schools in the burghs of Perth and Stirling at least as early.2 There were similar schools at Abernethy and at Glasgow. Master Thomas of Bennum writes himself " Rector scholarum de Aberdeen" in tho year 1262 ;3 and we learn, at a later period, that these were proper burgal schools, endowed by the community, and under the patronage of the magistrates. In 1418 we find a schoolmaster of Aberdeen "Magister Scholarum burgi de Aberdene," presented by the alderman and the community; when the Chancellor of the diocese, the inducting officer, testifies him to be of good life, of honest conversation, of great literature and science, and a graduate in arts.4 Sixty years later, but still prior to the foundation of the University, the "Master of the
'Registrum de Kelso, No. 409.
1 Reg. de Dunfermlin, No. 96.
'Uegistrum de Aberbrothoe, No. 254.
4 Magna© literatnrae et scienciac—Burgh Recordt of Aberdeen— Spalding Club, p. 5.
Grammar Schules of Abirdene" had the respectable salary of five pounds yearly, * of the common gude of the toune,' until he should be provided with a benefice in the Church of St. Nicholas.1 It was in the next century that Master John Marshall, master of the Grammar School of Aberdeen, "inquirit be the Provost whom of he had the same school—grantit in judgement that he had the same of the said good Town, ofierand him reddy to do thame and thair bairnis service and plesour at his power."2
Neither was Scotland, in the darkest ages, destitute of those church schools known all over Christendom, which formed a necessary appendage to the Cathedral and the Monastery, and which were frequently attached to churches of less importance. Reginald of Durham, a Monk of the twelfth century, in narrating a miracle of St. Cuthbert, deseribes a village school at Norham on Tweed, held in the Church; and nobody can read his story of the schoolboy stealing the church key, and throwing it into the river, in the hope of forcing a holiday, without being satisfied that the chronicler had in his mind a parish school for the parish boys. There were everywhere schools for teaching the boys of the choir to read and to sing; and the term Sangschool is not yet forgotten in the north, where the old choral foundation has often been the groundwork of existing and efficient grammar schools. The Monasteries, in early times, furnished education also to a higher class of pupils than those who benefited by the burgal and choral schools. In the thirteenth century, a lady of high rank made over to the Monks of Kelso a part of her dowry lands, on condition that they should maintain her son among the scholars of the best rank in the Monastery.*
Whatever may have been the course of study in those remote times, there can be no doubt that the Grammar Schools of Scot
'Burgh Recordt of Aberdeen—Spalding 'Ibid., pp. 80, 97. Club, p. 37. «Register of Kelso, No. 173.
land, in the fifteenth century, and even at the beginning of it, were taught, perhaps with more earnestness than we now give to them, as having in hand a high and important duty. Before the Reformation, Andrew Simson taught Latin with success, at the Grammar School at Perth, the same foundation, doubtless, of which the Dunfermlin monks held the patronage three centuries earlier, where he had sometimes three hundred boys under his charge; and, although he boasted that these included sons of the principal nobility and gentry, it is evident that such a number must have consisted in a large proportion of the Burgher and Yeoman class, and a great many who could not be designed for the Church. Even the Act of Parliament of 1496, requiring "all Barons and Freeholders of substance, to put their eldest sons to the schools, fra thai be eight or nine yeris of age, and to remaine at the grammar sculis quhil thai be competentlie fundit and haue perfit Latyne"—is sufficient to prove that there was no lack of such schools for the laity in Scotland before the foundation of our University. In them was taught that comprehensive "grammatica," which embraced a complete education in Roman literature ; for Greek was yet a sealed book to western Europe.
The chief difficulty must have arisen from the scarcity of books. But, after all, that was not greater on the eve of the grand invention of printing, than it had been in all ages of the world before. It did not press more heavily upon the Scotchman of the fourteenth century, than it did on the Italian contemporaries of Petrarch and Boccaccio—than it had done upon the people who appreciated the verse of Sophocles, and the rhetoric of Demosthenes, and the philosophy of Plato. How this impediment to instruction was overcome, is for us difficult to understand That it was overcome, we know. Among other means to supply the defect of books, public dictation was, perhaps, the chief, and this explains much of the method of the old Universities, where time was given to writing down verbatim the 'dictata' of the master, which might have been better bestowed, if books had been common, in obtaining a full knowledge of the subject of his lecture.
The scarcity of books had one effect which has not been enough considered. It tended to congregate students in masses. One public library afforded the seeds of learning to multitudes who could not buy books. The teaching of Abelard opened to thousands whom his writings could never reach, the mysteries of a new philosophy. The comparing of opinions, the disputations, the excitement of fellow students, the emulation, even the enthusiasm arising from the mere erowd engaged in one pursuit—made up in part for the want of books, which was one of the causes that compelled the multitude to come together. Universities were infinitely more necessary when books were scarce.
Before the fifteenth century, the Scotch youth, initiated in grammar, could carry his education no higher at home. The course of Philosophy was to be sought at Paris, or some other of the Universities of the continent, or at the English Universities, especially Oxford, (which had risen to prodigious popularity in the thirteenth century).1 In the following century, the English records are full of passports to Scotch students travelling to Oxford, and more rarely to Cambridge. One of these Scotch students at Oxford in 1383, was Henry Wardlaw, afterwards Bishop of St. Andrews, and the founder of its University.2
The inereasing estrangement between England and Scotland must have been one main cause of the erection of our Scotch Universities. Another event may have assisted. In the great Papal schism of the fourteenth century, England and Scotland
1 The thirty thousand students of Oxford, show the passion for Philosophical study,
in the reign of Henry III., however ex- which, at that time, crowded in like manner
aggerated, or to be abated by discounting the Universities of France and Italy,
attendants and * varlets,' leave enough to 'Rotuli Scotiae.
took different sides; and, in the Universities which swarmed with Churchmen, the feud ran high; making it uncomfortable for the Scotch to study at the orthodox school of Oxford. In 1382, Richard II. addressed a writ to the Chancellor and Proctors of the University of Oxford, forbidding them to molest the Scotch students, notwithstanding their "damnable adherence" to Robert the antipope, (Clement VII) against the most Holy Father Urban, the supreme Pontiff of the Universal Church.1
In 1411 the Bishop of St. Andrews founded his University. Forty years later, the rival see of Glasgow followed; and in 1494 Bishop Elphinstone obtained the Papal constitution for the " studium generale" or University of his Episcopal See. The Pope bestowed the usual privileges of a University (of which Bologna and Paris were the patterns), and licenced masters and doctors, whether ecclesiastical or lay, to teach, study, and confer degrees in Theology, the Canon and the Civil Law, Medicine, and Arts. Such were the simple operative words by which the recognised power of the Head of the Church admitted the new University and its members to the great fellowship of the scholars of Christendom.
There is nothing here of endowments or of Colleges, By what may be called the public University law, all masters and doctors were entitled, and even bound to 'read,' that is, to teach, in their several faculties, for a limited time after obtaining their degrees, in the University where they graduated. That was the only provision for teaching by the ancient constitution of the Universities of all Europe; and the constitution and early practice of Bishop Elphinfitone's mother University of Glasgow were not different. But the primitive liberty of teaching, and of choosing masters, had some manifest disadvantages, which induced first the Italian, and afterwards other foreign Universities, to exchange the free competition