THE Universities of Scotland are the legitimate offspring of the Church. They alone of our existing institutions carry us back to the time when the clergy were the only supporters of schools, and the bishop of the great diocese was the patron and head, as well as the founder, of its university. The annals of the mother university – St. Andrews – have unfortunately not been collected, or made accessible to the student. Of the others, the records have been printed with more or less of fulness.
The University of Glasgow was founded in 1450-51, forty years after St. Andrews, and about the same length of time before Aberdeen. It had the Papal privilege of a Studium Generale – the then technical term for a University – and a foundation by the Pope after the model of his own ancient University of Bologna.1 The customs and technical phraseology of the new University, however, early showed an imitation of the institutions of Louvain, then and for all the following century, the model university of Northern Europe, and perhaps peculiarly admired by our countrymen at that period, when it had so recently flourished under a Scotch Rector.2
The Pope willed that the University should “flourish in Theology, Canon and Civil Law, in Arts, and in any other lawful Faculty;” that the students deserving the distinction should be presented by the Doctor or Doctors, Master or Masters of their respective Faculties, to the Chancellor (the Bishop), and should from him, after examination, receive the license to teach, the Mastership, or the Doctor’s degree, in full convocation of the other Doctors ad Masters “reading” there.
The first statutes divided the members of the University into four “nations,” here also following Louvain, and indeed the practice of all the continental Universities;3 and in the nations, as represented by their Procurators, was vested the right of electing the Rector.
The foundation and erection were immediately effectual, and numerous members and graduates mark the very first year of the new University. There were lectures in Canon and Civil Law and Theology from the beginning, and perhaps Masters might occasionally “read” in other Faculties. But the Faculty of Arts alone received a definite shape and constitution. The members of the Faculty of Arts annually elected a Dean;4 had stated meetings; promulgated laws for their government; and more than all, acquired property by the munificence of benefactors,5 which the University as a body did not do for some time. At Louvain, the Faculty of Arts had four pedagogia, At Glasgow, the Faculty of Arts speedily established one, and for many years made all efforts to maintain it, and appropriated funds of the Faculty from time to time for the support and repairs of its building. There might be some danger of the Faculty of Arts absorbing the University. Bachelors’ degrees were conferred in Arts. Licentiates and Masters of Arts were made, and these degrees were recorded, not in the University Registers, but in the Register of the Faculty of Arts.
This was the state of things when we lose sight of the University and its members in the storm that preceded the Reformation. Even before that time the University seems to have fallen into decay. The words of the Queen’s letter in 1563 are scarcely to be accounted for by any sudden or recent calamity:- “Forsamekil as within the citie of Glasgow ane College and Universitie was devisit to be had quhairin the youthe mycht be brocht up in letres and knawlege, the commoune welth servit and verteu incressit – of the quhilk College ane parte of the sculis and chalmeris being bigeit, the rest thairof, alsweill duellings as provisioune for the pouir bursouris and maisteris to teche ceissit sua that the samyn apperit rather to be the decay of tane Universitie nor ony wyse to be reknit ane establisst fundatioun.” Ten years later, the magistrates of the city describe the pedagogium, meaning the building of the University, as ruinous, and its studies and discipline extinct. But though thus fallen, the Studium Generale still kept up the skeleton of its constitution. The very last transactions recorded before the Reformation show us the University met in full convocation in the Chapter-House of the Cathedral, on its statutory day of the feast of St. Crispin and Crispinian (October 25); its four nations electing their “intrants” or procurators; the four intrants electing the Rector of the University and his four deputies – the promoter or procurator and bursar; and members admitted to the University as a defined and distinct body,6 and according to the ancient constitution and practice; while the Faculty of Arts held its congregation in the Crypt, at the altar of St. Nicholas, on the 25th day of June, and there elected their Dean and their examinators, and recorded the “proceeding” of the year’s students, now sadly reduced in numbers, for their degrees.7
It is astonishing to find how a few years of that disturbed time served to blot out of mind the whole framework of a University, so that the offices and very nomenclature of the old Academic body were disused or changed in meaning. The Regent Morton, in his New Erection in 1577, studying, as he says, to collect the remains of the old University,8 really discarded all the old constitution, and established in its place the anomalous College or Pedagogy – Collegium seu pedagogium – a composite school, half University, half Faculty of Arts, which, with some modifications, still exists. The Principal and three Regents (with no University election), an (Economus, four poor students, the Principal’s servant, a cook, and a janitor, received among them the whole revenue of the establishment, and came in place of the fair and lofty sounding University of Papal authority. The names of Rector and Dean of Faculty were alluded to rather than preserved. The old offices, with their functions, were plainly swept away. By the new erection the Sovereign willed that this College and Academy of Glasgow – nostrum hoc Collegium et Academiam Glasguensem – composed of the twelve individuals named above, should enjoy all the immunities and privileges of the other Academies of the kingdom; and the Parliament of Scotland confirmed that erection.9
Henceforward we hear nothing more of convocations of the University, meetings of the Faculty of Arts, of “determining,” of Bachelors’ degrees, or of Licentiates.10 All the stately ceremonial and sounding titles of the old Academic life, all the University forms were dismissed which had served to bind together the scholars of all Europe in the last age.
In their place, however, came the fervour of a new and animating faith, whose professors had not yet abjured secular learning, and some of whose leaders were foremost in scholarship. Andrew Hay, the Rector, was undoubtedly the most zealous mover of the new foundation, and the Regent Morton its most powerful supporter; but the man on whom was laid the restoration of letters in Glasgow was Andrew Melville. The workman was in every way suited to the task. Melville was accomplished in all the learning of the age, and far in advance of the scholars of Scotland. Vehement and resolute, yet of kindly nature, he was fit for the rough time, and for encouraging his followers in the severe studies of which he set the example. His aim evidently was to take advantage of the sudden zeal for education, and to instruct teachers who might spread and continue its blessing. The system he pursued, requiring more exertion than is to be looked for among average students, is known from the narrative of his nephew, James Melville, who accompanied him to Glasgow and assisted in his undertaking:-
“We cam to Glasgw about the first of November 1574, whare we fand Mr. Piter Blakburn, a guid man, new com from St. Andrios, enterit in the Collage, and begoun to teatche conform to the ordour of the course of St. Andrios. But Mr. Andro [Melville] entering principall maister, all was committed and submitted to him, wha permitted willinglie to the said Mr. Piter, the cair of the Collage leiving, quhilk was but verie small, consisting in litle annualles then, and sett him haillelie to teatche things nocht hard in this countrey of befor, wherin he trauelit exceiding diligentlie, as his delyt was therin alleanerlie. Sa falling to wark with a few number of capable heirars, sic as might be instructars of vthers therefter, he teatched them the Greik grammer, the Dialectic of Ramus, the Rhetoric of Taleus, with the practise therof in Greik and Latin authors, namlie, Homer, Hesiod, Phocilides, Theognides, Pythagoras, Isocrates, Pindarus, Virgill, Horace, Theocritus, etc. From that he enterit to the Mathematiks, and teatched the Elements of Euclid, the Arithmetic and Geometrie of Ramus, the Geographie of Dyonisius, the Tables of Honter, the Astrologie of Aratus. From that to the Morall Philosophie; he teatched the Ethiks of Aristotle, the Offices of Cicero, Aristotle de Vurtutibus, Cicero’s Paradoxes and Tusculanes, Aristotle’s Polytics, and certean of Platoes Dialoges. From that to the Naturall Philiosophie; he teatched the buiks of the Physics, De Ortu, De Cœlo, etc., also of Plato and Fernelius. With this he ioyned the Historie, with the twa lights thereof, Chronologie and Chirographie, out of Sleidan, Menarthes, and Melanchthon. And all this, by and attoure his awin ordinar profession, the holie tonges and Theologie. He teachit the Hebrew grammar, first schortlie, and syne more accuratlie; therefter the Caldaic and Syriac dialects with the practise thereof in the Psalmes and Warks of Solomon, Dauid, Ezra, and Epistle to the Galates. He past throw the haill Comoun Places of Theologie verie exactlie and accuratlie; also throw all the Auld and New Testament. And all this in the space of sax yeirs, during the quhilk he teatchit euerie day customablie twyse, Sabothe and vther day; with an ordinar conference with sic as war present efter denner and supper. His lerning nad peanfulness was mikle admired, sa that the nam of that Collage within twa yeirs was noble throwout all the land, and in vther countreys also. Sic as haid passed ther course in St. Androis cam in number ther, and entered schollars again vnder ordour and discipline, sa that the Collage was sa frequent as the roumes war nocht able to receaue them. The scolmaister of the town, Mr. Patrik Scharpe, was his ordinar heirar and contubernall, whome he instructed and directed in the maist commodius bringing vpe of the youthe in grammer and guid authors; whom I hard oftentymes profes that he lerned mair of Mr. Andro Meluill craking and pleying, for vnderstanding of the authors quhilk he teatched in the scholl, nor be all his comentares. Sic lyk Mr. Peter Blakburn, wha tuk vpe the first clas. Finalie, I dare say there was na place in Europe comparable to Glasgw for guid letters during these yeirs for a plentifull ad guid chepe mercat of all kynd of languages, artes, and sciences.”11
That this picture is not overdrawn, and that the effect of such a teacher remained after he was himself removed, is to some extent proved by the education received at Glasgow by one who could not have benefited by Melville’s instructions. Bayle tells us, that in 1600, when young John Cameron, then little more than twenty, left Glasgow for France, “On admira justement que dans un âge si peu avancé il parlât en Grec sur le champ avec la même facilité et avec la même pureté que d’autres en Latin.”12
The stimulus given to education survived the generation of zealous scholars that produced it. Glasgow had indeed lost the sympathy of the great fellowship of learning by throwing off the ancient and honoured customs of Universities; but learning and efficient discipline, and the respect which follow them, were still there, and the College throve. Laureation, or the degree of Master of Arts, was the only one of the old University distinctions which survived the great Revolution. It was very different, indeed, from the degree which, coming after well-defined studies and preparatory trials, put the final stamp upon the finished scholar, that gave him equality and fellowship with all the scholars of Christendom. Still the title of Master of Arts remained, and the teachers of Glasgow endeavoured to give it something of its old value. As early as 1595, the graduates of the year were arranged and published in classes according to merit; and it is worthy of remark, that from that time the degree must have risen in estimation, for the number of candidates gradually and almost steadily increased. Whether accidentally or of set purpose, the “laureation” was also rendered imposing by some ceremonial, by crowds of invited guests, and by entertainments and presents, the expense of which it soon became necessary to restrain within definite bounds. Glasgow preserved its character, and its records scarcely show a diminution of numbers during all the troubles of the seventeenth century. The great principles then brought into discussion rather incited to education; and if during the great Civil War the actual commotion prevented some Scotchmen from attendance, it was soon more than compensated by crowds of English, outed clergyman’s sons, and Non-conformists, for whom there was no toleration in the English Universities, even if they had been willing to sit under the teachers placed there at the Restoration.
Wodrow, speaking of his father’s graduation in 1659, tells us that the examination of candidates for degrees was in those days more exact and close than in his own time, “when learning suffers by the too easy admission of many without exact trial, to the honorary title of Master of Arts;” and he gives some details of the laureation.13 But a much more minute account of Glasgow study and graduation of that period is found in the contemporary chronicle of one of the band of English students. Josiah Chorley was born in 1652, at Preston in Lancashire, where, he notes, his father’s house was “the receptacle of persecuted ministers.” After a preparatory education in several good grammar-schools, Josiah was sent to Cambridge, and admitted of Trinity College, under the tuition of Mr. Bainbridge; but his residence there was not long, “the terms of conformity being strait.” He then turned his thoughts to Scotland His account of his sojourn at Glasgow shall be given in his own words, as found in a little note-book, which he entitles “Chorleyana, or a Register commemorating some of the most remarkable passages of God’s providence towards me from my nativity, by Josiah Chorley.” The first part of the “Register” was written at GLasgow in 1671-72.14
“The Reverend Mr. Roger Baldwin having in his younger days exercised his ministry in Edinburgh, and been well acquainted with Scotland, encouraged several of his acquaintances to send their sons to their Universities, especially to Glasgow, as a place best adapted to their studies, and under the strictest discipline; and for encouragement he undertook to conduct them thither himself, which was a wonderful condescension. Accordingly, five of us set out from Preston, February 10, 1672, viz., Mr William Baldwyn, Mr. Peter Green, Mr. John Jones, Mr. Peter Withington, and myself, rejoicing in the happiness of so good a guide. After a prosperous journey, by the will of God, Mr. Baldwin saw us all admitted into the College of Glasgow, and entered into the several classes into which we were directed, and then returned with his servant into England. Blessed be the Lord for inclining the heart of this his faithful servant, not only to counsel, but also to conduct us to this happy place. I was admitted in the Batchelor year, having studied Logic and Philosophy so long in England, and came under the presidency and tuition of that celebrated philosopher, Mr. John Tran, a person whose excellent qualities would fill a large volume to enumerate, I soon found my great account in it, to sit constantly at his feet, for as keen as my appetite was to learning, here was rich provision enough to satisfy it, in daily dictates, disputations, etc. Oh, how sweet and pleasant was this life of strict studies, and daily more and more so, insomuch that I could spare no time for the ordinary diversions of the scholars; but when invited by them thereto, have desired to be excused, for this was my seed time, and as I sowed now, I hoped to reap hereafter.
“The good orders of the College were very agreeable to mine inclination At five o’clock in the morning the bell rings, and every scholar is to answer to his name, which is then called over. The day is spent in private studies and public exercises in the classes at nine at night every chamber is visited by the respective regents. The Lord’s days strictly observed, all the scholars called to the several classes, where, after religious exercises, all attend the Primar and Regents to church, forenoon and afternoon, and in the same order from church. The in the evening, called again to the classes, and then come under examination concerning the sermons heard, and give account of what was appointed the foregoing Sabbath in some theological treatise, viz., Wollebius, or Ursin’s Catechism, etc., and other religious exercises; and then to supper and chambers; so that there is no room for vain ramblings and wicked prophanations of the day, if we were so disposed; and such restraints are great blessings to licentious youth.
“The public worship in the churches, though the Archbishop himself preach, is in all respects after the same manner managed as in the Presbyterian congregations in England, so that I much wondered why there should be any Dissenters there, till I came to be informed of the renunciation of the Covenant enjoined, and the imposition of the hierarchy, etc.
“There is also a comely face of religion appearing throughout the whole city in the private exercises thereof in the families, as may appear to any that walks through the streets; none being allowed either in or out of Church time, to play or saunter about; but reading Scriptures, singing Psalms, etc., to be heard in most houses.
“I was very happy in the society of Mr. William Baldwin, an ingenious and serious gentleman, so long as he staid with us, being chamber and bed-fellows; but he entering in the Magistrand class, laureated this year, and then returned into England. And now the vacation commencing, Mr. George Glen, a student in theology under the famous professor thereof, Mr. Gilbert Burnet, took me into his chamber and bed. With this gentleman I have much edifying conversation for promoting learning and piety; the Lord help me to improve my season…
“This year I fell into a stricter amity with Mr. Ralph Ainsworth. We had been school-fellows many years before at Blackburn, and he had been some time at the College of Dublin, and from thence was come to Glasgow before me. He was an eager and subtle disputant, was commonly styled in the College universale a parte rei, for his stout maintaining that point against all opponents. He and I met every morning about four or five, and every evening at eight of the clock, at our chamber in short days, and in the College walks or some appointed fields in the long days, and disputed over the principal questions in philosophy, to no small advantage (I’m sure at least) unto myself. Blessed be the Lord.
“1672, April 1. – We of the magistrand class now in the beginning of April concluded out lecturing. In order to prepare for the ensuing Laureation. All the scholars that designed to take their degrees assembled to assesse one another for defraying the expenses; chose collectors of the money assessed, and treasurers, whereof one was for the Scotts, and I for the English; and also stewards to provide gloves and the printing of the theses – one on white satin for the patron, and an appointed number on paper. My tutor would engage me to be the publick orator at the Laureation. I declined it, and earnestly begged his excuse, till I obtained it. But then he would not excuse my journey to Edinburgh to invite the grandees there to our Laureation; so that I went, furnished with gloves, and theses, which I first presented to the patron, the Laird of Colchun, upon white satin. I then waited upon the Archbishop of Glasgow, Dr. Leighton, at his chamber in the Colledge, whereof he had been formerly master. After presenting the service of our Colledge and Tutor, and invitation to our Laureation, I craved his acceptance of the theses, which he thankfully accepted; but presenting then the fine fringed gloves, he started back, and with all demonstrations of humility, excused himselfe as unworthy of such a present. I humbly urged his acceptance; he still retired backward, and I pursued him till he came to the end of the chamber, and at last prevailed. But it was amazing to see with what humble gratitude, bowing to the very ground, this great man accepted them. This was agreeable to his whole deportment at Glasgow, where the history of his deep humility might fill a volume. Then waited on Sir James Turner, the Steward of our University: Then on Dr Burnett, our Divinity Professor,15 but he was out of town attending the Earl of Tweedale in his last illness. On the morning before my return, I, calling at the Doctor’s lodgings, found him returned. He was in bed; sent for me up; made me sit down on his bedside, after I had delivered my message to him. Then he told me he was come home this morning as soon as the Earl was dead. After much more discourse about the affairs of our Colledge, and his compliments to my tutor, I took my leave of him, and soon after, of the city, and returned to Glasgow with all expedition; was kindly received by my good tutor, to whom I related all the transactions, and delivered all the compliments, etc. Blessed be God for good success in this journey.
“The day after my return home came on the famous Laureation in the Trone Church (the Colledge-hall, the usual place, not being capable to receive the number of scholars and the grand concourse of the learned clergy and gentry who were invited from all parts, besides a vast multitude of spectators), wherein, after our Regent in the pulpit had prayed in Latin, and opened the design of that solemnity in an eloquent oration, and propounded the Theses, came on the disputations, wherein every clergyman and gentleman present, or as many as would, called out what scholar he pleased for his respondent, and opposed upon any thesis that he read; the Regent all the while moderating in the pulpit. This was a long exercise; which ended, the publick orator (Mr. J. L. [Jonathan Low], my chamber-fellow, an Englishman, who had accepted the office after I had declined it) pronounced his declamation very well. Then were all the scholars sent out into the churchyard, waiting to be called in by our Regent according to his judgment of their degrees in learning, to be observed by the whole assembly. The first call was Arthure Hamilton (a Scots gentleman), the second, ‘Josias Chorley.’ I not thinking myself worthy of that degree, put my friend, chamber-fellow, and orator on going in my room. He readily accepted it and went in. I waited till his turn came to be called: then as I was going, I laid hold on Mr. Ainsworth to thrust him in my room, esteeming him a better scholar than either of us, but he refused it, so that I must go in, though (I thought) before many my betters. This being over, we all stood in order in the Church. Then the Primar (the learned Mr. Wright) read his injunctions to us out of the Colledge Statute Book, pronouncing the title of Master of Arts over us: which done, the Regent concluded all with a solemn prayer and thanks-giving.
“These things being ended, all we that were officers assembled to defray all charges and adjust all accounts; which we did to the content of all the scholars by whom we were entrusted. Then all agreed to present the surplusage to our Regent. But before this was done, it was agreed (as usually) that every officer should have a dollar for his pains. I opposed the motion, and would have paid 1s. 6d. that I had laid out at Edinburgh for two small books out of the Colledge money; but they would not receive it, saying, the trouble of my journey deserved a better gratuity. But it was carried against my inclination for every one to take half a dollar, which we did,16 though I thought our excellent Regent deserved the best of our service. This being deducted, we presented a large purse as our valedictory, which was thankfully accepted.”
“Having dispatched all our affairs, all we Englishmen hasted homeward, setting out the next afternoon (July 19) towards Edinburgh, whence (after a short stay there) we made our way by Berwick, Newcastle, Durham, etc., every one to his house, and I to Preston.”…
The thesis of the Master of Arts in the time of Chorley was a single essay, composed by the Regent, butt subscribed by the whole candidates for Laureation, all bound to defend their thesis against all impugners. In later times, the Glasgow thesis assumed the usual form of an individual dissertation by each candidate for the degree.17
We learn something of the mode of conducting the studies in the University, at the beginning of the last century, from documents collected by a writer to whom Glasgow owes more than is generally known.
In a paper among Wodrow’s collections, it is asserted that till the beginning of the year 1710 there had for many years been no public prelections in the University, but at that time it was resolved that in certain classes pubic prelections should be held.18 On 25th August 1712, the Faculty appointed the Professors within two days to give in an account of their way of teaching and managing their several provinces, in order to the amendment of anything that may be amiss or defective. The reports made by the Professors, though they have not been found by the present writer, fortunately did not escape the notice of a previous labourer in the same field They contain a precise statement of the manner of teaching each class at that time.19
The Professor of Divinity read and explained each session John Marckius’s Medulla, collating therewith the Scotch Confession of Faith. Two days of the week were set aside for exercises, and Saturday for prayer and conference privately. There was a meeting for “polemic conference” “once in a week or two.”
Professor Law used the old way of teaching Philosophy, “by dited notes and disputes in all the parts of philosophy.” The disputations were sometimes three days in the week, and were never neglected. The lessons were got by heart.
Mr. Dunlop, Professor of Greek, taught Verney’s Grammar in the Bajan class,20 and occupied the whole season chiefly with it – the authors whom he names being evidently read only as illustrative and subordinate to the elementary instruction.21 Mr. Dunlop was a long time Professor of Greek, and was esteemed for his knowledge of the language. and his manner of teaching it; but students who spent the first season in learning the Grammar, and limited their study of the language to another, could but poorly maintain the character of the school where Andrew Melville had taught, and John Cameron had learnt Greek.
The first half of the eighteenth century was a period of stagnation in Scotland. If the University of Glasgow partook of the general lethargy of that half century,22 it shared also in the energy and progress that marked the next age of Scotch history. To prove this, it is enough to point to the names that made Glasgow famous in the past hundred years, omitting those still alive. No other school of learning within so short a period can boast of an array of teachers like Cullen and Black in chemistry and medicine; Hutchison, Reid, Adam Smith in mental philosophy; Moore, Young, and Sandford in Greek literature; John Millar and Jardine in what may be called the art of education. To add to the distinction conferred by her great masters, the University of Glasgow, within the same period, has had the singular fortune of producing the printing press of Foulis, and being the birthplace of the discoveries and inventions of James Watt.23
Although the term “University,” like “College,” is improperly applied to a building, yet it is natural enough to name the building from the body which occupies or frequents it; and it becomes interesting to trace the successive local habitations of an old and renowned University, and its subordinate bodies.
The earliest statutes of the University of Glasgow directed the solemn meetings, and indeed all meetings of the members, to be – in loco per Rectorem deputando – in such place as the Rector of the University (the highest officer elected by themselves) should think convenient. But the Rectors, for the most part canons, and the Chancellor, the bishop, brought the meetings to be usually held in their cathedral, – the cradle, indeed, of the University.
The first general Chapter of the University, held in 1451, for the incorporation of members, met in the Chapter-house of the Friars Preachers, where the College Kirk now stands, and there forty members, mostly Churchmen, several dignitaries of the Church, were at once incorporated and sworn; and Mr. David Cadyow, precentor of the church of Glasgow, was chosen Rector.24 The next congregation, in the presence of the Bishop, their Chancellor and founder, was held in the Chapter-house of his Cathedral. And in the Chapter-house of the Cathedral for the most part, sometimes in the lower Chapter-house, were the subsequent congregations of the members of the University held, down to the time of the Reformation.
The ancient statutes of the Faculty of Arts ordained the annual meeting of the Masters and Students of that Faculty, for the election of their Dean, to take place in the Cathedral, at the Altar of St. Nicholas (probably in the Crypt). But the first congregation of the Faculty in 1451, was held in the Chapter-house of the Cathedral; the next in the Chapter-house of the Friars Preachers; the three following in the Crypt below the Chapter-house of the Cathedral.25 Sometimes the meetings of the Faculty were at the statutory place, at the altar of St. Nicholas, sometimes at the altar of the Virgin, both in the Crypt, and occasionally in the Chapter-house of the friendly Friars.
It was in the Chapter-house of the Friars that Master David Cadyow, “Precentor of the Church of Glasgow and Rector of this august University,” read lectures in Canon Law, and Master William of Levenax lectured in Civil Law, in the year 1460. Here, too, in 1521, Friar Robert Lile, Prior of the Convent of Dominicans, and Bachelor of Theology, in presence of the Rector, the Dean of Faculty, and the other Masters, and under the presidency of Dr. John Adamson, Provincial of the Order of Scotland, “commenced” the reading of the fourth book of the “Sentences” – incepit pro forma lecturam quarti libri sententiarum.26
But before that time the Faculty of Arts had buildings which they called their “schools,” in which their Masters taught; a dwelling-place for students of Arts, which was named “collegium,” in which they had their “chambers” and common table. This, without any doubt, was the building long known as the “auld pedagogy,”27 in the Rotten Row.
It is not easy to determine when the schools and chambers of the Faculty of Arts were removed from their ancient seat to the new pedagogy, built on the property bestowed upon them by Lord Hamilton in 1460.
At a general congregation of the Faculty of Arts in 1453, after some provisions touching the “general responsions in the town” – in vico – as opposed, it would seem, to the Chapter-house or Church, and even to the Rotten Row, there is a levy ordered for repairing the school “in the said place,” for general “acts,” and furnishing it with benches and a chair for the President. In 1457, the Masters Regents were straitened in paying “the rent of the pedagogy,” by reason of the poverty, war, pestilence, and fewness of students in the preceding year; and next year and for five successive years the Faculty gave all that was in its purse “for building of the pedagogy” – in edificatione pedagogii – circa edificationem domus pedagogii.
We may conclude that this was the “Collegium Facultatis Artium,” in which the annual banquet of the Faculty was to be celebrated on the Sunday or Feast next after the Translation of St. Nicholas (9th May), when all the Masters, Licentiates, Bachelors, and Students, after hearing matins in the Chapel of St. Thomas the Martyr, rode in solemn and stately procession, bearing flowers and branches of trees, through the public street, from the upper part of the town to the Cross, and so back to the College of the Faculty, and there, amid the joy of the feast,27 the Masters took counsel for the welfare of the Faculty, and gave their diligence to remove all discords and quarrels, that all rejoicing in heart might honour the prince of peace and joy. After the banquet the whole crowd of Masters and Students were directed to repair to a more fitting place of amusement, and there enact some interlude or other show to rejoice the people.28
In 1460, the Faculty was busied about “the construction of a house on the south side of the College of the Faculty of Arts.” Now, if it be held that this College of the Faculty of Arts was identical with the pedagogy on which the Faculty had been bestowing its common fund so long, the next notice settles where that was, for it records “the annexation and union of Sir Thomas Arthurlee’s place or mansion to the pedagogy.” This was in 1475, fifteen years after the Hamiltons had granted to the Faculty of Arts the tenement on the east side of the High Street, between the Convent of the Friars Preachers on the south, and Sir Thomas Arthurlee’s land on the north, and eight years after Sir Thomas Arthurlee had given to the Faculty his house and land, which was their former boundary. In 1460, therefore, the pedagogy, and if that was identical, the College of the Faculty of Arts was in progress of building on the east side of the High Street, between the Friars Preachers and Arthurlee’s mansion – that is on the exact site of the present College. But it is not doubtful that the “pedagogy” of that time was the same with the “College,” for we find, in 1480, all the money in the Faculty purse devoted to the repairing of “the pedagogy or College” – pedagogii seu collegii. On the 19th of October 1485, the houses of the “pedagogy” were again in need of repair against the approaching winter. Next year repairing the “riggin stainis” of the “pedagogy” cost £4, 10s. In 1491, Mr. Covyntre’s chamber in the “pedagogy” required repair; and three years later “Master John Hutchison, having been active in building the new kitchen, and probably also in the repairing of the new hall of the pethagogy, and having already held the honourable office, was re-elected Dean of the Faculty, in consideration of the great benefits he had conferred in the building and repair of the “College of the Faculty of Arts.”
It seems to result form this enumeration that “the old pedagogy” in Rotten Row was used by the Faculty of Arts only in the very first years of the University – being perhaps in existence and used as a Chapter school before the Papal foundation29 – that the Faculty of Arts finding it insufficient before 1457, rented a place for their schools, and in 1460 acquired by gift of the Hamiltons a tenement (probably the same previous;y rented), on the site of which the present building of the College stands.
The buildings of the Pedagogy, or the College of the Faculty of Arts, had not been completed when the storm of the Reformation began. The Crown Charter of 1563 narrates that a part only of the schools and chambers had been built. The unfurnished edifice of that time must have been a mere ruin in a century after, scarcely to be used with advantage for more than the foundations of a new structure. Upon the restoration of the College the zeal for some time took a different direction, and it was not till 1631 that preparations were made for restoring the ruined buildings in part, and erecting the present fabric on their site. The actual masonry was begun in the following year, and the building as it now stands may be said to have been completed in 1656. The subscriptions of contributors, the details of the building, and the accounts of its expense, are all given in the collection of the muniments – it may be thought by some at too great length. The architect of the edifice is not recorded; its characteristics are those of Heriot’s Hospital and other Scotch erections of the time. Principal Fall records with some pride, that in his time (in 1690) the rail of stone ballusters was put up on the Great Stair which carries up to the Fore Common Hall, “with a Lion and a Unicorn upon the first turn.”
While the present “Collegium,” coming in the place of the Faculty of Arts of the ancient University, enjoys part of its property and its buildings in that character, it must not be forgot that it represents at the same time the ancient University itself, and it is in the latter capacity that it holds perhaps its most ancient possession in mobilibus – THE MACE. Mr. David Cadyow, precentor of the Cathedral, and first Rector of the University, on the occasion of his being re-elected to that office in 1460, made the munificent contribution of twenty nobles towards the making of the University Mace, and the members, by common consent of all the Nations in the statutory congregation of the University, on the Feast of St. Crispin and Crispinian 1465, submitted to a tax for the common end.30 Finally, in 1490, directions were given for the reforming and correction of the silver mace at the expense of the University. It would appear that the emblem of office was now perfected, for no more collections are found for it; while in 1519, Master Robert Maxwell, Chancellor of the diocese of Moray, being elected Rector, and having regard to the safety of the more precious Mace, fit for only the most solemn occasions, presented to the University a cane staff, set with silver at its extremities and middle, to be in all time coming borne before the Rector on the smaller feasts and at common meetings.
The Mace now preserved in the Faculty-room of the University is of silver, measuring 4 feet 9¾ inches in height, and weighing 8 lb. 1 oz. The top is hexagonal, with a shield on each side. On the first shield are the City arms: on the third, the arms of Douglas of Dalkeith, as borne by the Regent Morton, the restorer of the College; the fourth has the coat of Hamilton, the first endower; the fifth, of Scotland; the sixth, of Turnbull, the founder of the University. The second shield is occupied with the inscription (in modern letters), Hæc virga empta fuit publicis Academiæ Glasguensis sumptibus A.D. 1465: in Galliam ablata, A.D. 1560: et Academiæ restituta, 1590. The workmanship is very good, and may be of the date asserted in the inscription, or a little later. The arms upon the shields must have been supplied after the “restoration,” or new erection of the University, and, if at the same time with the inscription, not earlier than last century.
Some records “of the common table,” and of what may be called the domestic economy of the College, suggest reflections not unmixed with regret. In all the Universities of Scotland the old collegiate life so favourable for scholastic discipline has been abandoned. Perhaps the increasing numbers rendered living in College under the master’s eye inconvenient; though some modification of the system of living in the Universities and the great schools of England might meet the difficulty. The present academic life in Scotland brings the master and the student too little in contact, and does not enable the teacher to educate in that which is more important than scholastic learning, nor to study and train the temper, habits, and character. If the alternative which has been chosen inferred that the student enjoyed the benefit of parental or domestic care when out of the lecture-room, the change might be less objectionable; but when we observe the crowds of young men brought from distant homes to our Universities, dwelling at large and altogether uncontrolled except in the class-room, we may look back with some regret to the time when the good Regent of a University, living among his pupils, came in the parent’s place as well as master’s. But it was not only the discipline of the University that was benefited by the collegiate life. The spirit of fellowship that existed among young men set apart for the common object of high education was on the whole favourable though liable to exaggeration and often running into prejudice. Nearly all that common feeling of the youth of a great University is gone. The shreds of it that are preserved by the dress, scarcely honoured in the crowded streets of a great city, and the rare occurrence of a general meeting of Students, serve only to suggest to what account it might be turned for exciting the enthusiasm and raising the standard of conduct among the youth of Scotland. If collections of University muniments, in revealing the old machinery of the scholar life, tend in any degree to the renewal of the bond of common feeling among the younger students, and of sympathy with their teachers, they will not be useless.
It may be useful to point to two additional sources of information. Pricipal Baillie’s Letters and Journals, among a store of civil and ecclesiastical information, give innumerable notices of Glasgow College matters which are rendered more interesting because no official minutes of the College are preserved during that period To him especially we owe a full and very minute narrative of the affairs of the University from the forced abdication of Dr. Strang, and an amusing account of the quarrels of Principal Gillespie with the Magistrates of the city. The account of the University, published in the last volume of the old Statistical Account of Scotland, is by Dr. Thomas Reid. Nothing that came from his pen is insignificant, but this essay contains not only valuable opinions of the philosopher living among the institutions he is describing, but a history of the change from collegiate life which demands attention here, because it is in some things opposed to the views expressed above. “It appears that the ancient constitution of the University of Glasgow in the distribution of sciences and modes of teaching, as well as in the form of its government, was very similar to that of all the other Universities of Europe. The alterations which it has undergone in later times are such as might be expected from the changes of opinion with respect to literary objects, and from other varying circumstances.” “The University of Glasgow was anciently possessed of a jurisdiction similar to that of the other Universities of Europe, and exercised a similar discipline and authority over its members. A great part of the students were accommodated with lodgings in the College, and dined at a common table under the inspection of their teachers. While this mode of living continued, almost everything was the subject of restrictions and regulations. But for a long time this practice has been discontinued, and the severity of the ancient discipline has been a good deal relaxed. The lodgings in the College rooms, after the disuse of the common table, became less convenient; and at present, no students live within the College, but a few of considerable standing, whose regularity of conduct is perfectly known and ascertained.
“These deviations from the ancient usage were introduced from the experience of many inconveniences attending it. The common table, by collecting a multitude of students so frequently together, afforded encouragement and temptations to idleness and dissipation; and, though the masters sat at table along with the students, yet few advantages of conversation could be attained… Besides, from a general alteration in the habits and manners of the people, the academical rules in these matters were found troublesome both to the teachers and the students. Hence, attendance at the common table became a kind of drudgery to the masters, from which they endeavoured to escape, or to which they submitted in their turns with reluctance; while the students procured dispensations, or permissions to have their commons in their own apartments. This latter was found to be a source of expense and dissipation, not more unfriendly to literature than to morals. The common table, it is said, became a source of mismanagement and imposition, which could not easily be remedied.
“This change in the mode of living has been attended with much comfort and satisfaction to all the members of the University, by superseding many strict regulations, and of course rigorous penalties, which, in the former situation, had been thought necessary. Neither has it produced any bad effect upon the manners and behaviour of the students… The most certain and effectual mode of discipline in a great measure useless, is by filling up regularly and properly the time of the student, by interesting him in the objects of his studies and pursuits, and by demanding, regularly and daily, an account of his labours.”
13 thoughts on “Glasgow University, pp.220-253.”