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Old and New Edinburgh Vol. V


university.] COURSE OF STUDIES. I7
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? 18 OLD AND NEW EDINBURGH. [University. meant as a check upon the teacher and the taught, as it depended upon the decision of the principal whether or not the student in the next session should proceed in the same order of study. In the early days of the university Greek was universally begun at college, there being scarcely an opportunity of acquiring even the elements of that magnificent language elsewhere. Indeed, there was an absolute prohibition ordained by the Privy Council in 1672 of teaching Greek or Philosophy in any schools but the four universities; and a warrant was granted ? to direct letters, at the instance of the professors of any of the universities and colleges of this kingdom, against all such persons as shall contravene the said Act.? From this we may conclude that the acquirernents of the students in Greek Literature could not be very great ; and yet the sessions were so long, the application so uninterrupted, that the amount of their readings was not much less than those of the present day, in their shorter terms. Their favourite authors were (after the New Testament) Isocrates, Homer, Hesiod, and Phocylides ; and ig connection with these results of the first year there was added a brief system of rhetoric, disguised under the title of didectics. These, with the catechism, filled up the cycle of academical study till the autumnal recess began. When the session opened in October the students were again examined in public. The professor prescribed a theme in Greek, and the study of rhetoric was resumed immediately after. Their text-book was the work of Talaus, which would seem to have differed very little from the dzakctics of his master, Peter Ramus. The attention of the students was next called to the Progymnasmata of Apthonius, and to Cassander, the forerunner of Aristotle ; and about January the Organon of the ,latter was introduced, and then the books of the Categories, the Analytics, the Topics, ar,d two of the Elenchi. The studies of the third year, under Rollock?s system, consisted of the higher branches of the Ancient Logic, Hebrew, and Anatomy, the last solely camed out by books, as there were no dissections of the human body in Edinburgh University, as we have shown, till the reign of Queeii Anne. The fourth year was devoted to what in the sixteenth century was denominated Physics-or the courses and appearances of natural phenomena. They read the bocks De Cdo and the 5??hm-a of John Sacroboscus. Theories ?of the planets were explained, and the seats of the constellations pointed out. These were succeeded by the books De Ortu, De &Ieteoris, and De Anima, and the course conzluded with Hunter?s Cosmo,aaphia. As a whole, it would seem from the materials zollected by Bower that the course of a student?s Fourth year was somewhat superficial, being nearly made up of a brief introduction to Geography, a long time spent upon somewhat useless abstractions 3f Aristotle, and a little attention paid to scholastic divinity. I Such, then, was the system of education introiuced by Robert Rollock, the first Principal, or Primarius, of the old University of Edinburgh. It was not until about 1660-the year of the Restoration-that the University, by means of bene- [actions from public bodies and private individuals, ittained a respectable rank among similar instibutions. In the manner already described, education was conducted in Scottish seminaries until the year 1647, when commissioners from the four Universities met at Edinburgh, upon a suggestion of the General Assembly of the Church, to take into their consideration the mode of tutelage which was pursued in each. Among other resolutions, it was then found necessary ? that there be a CUYSUS PhiZosojhicus drawn up by the four universities, and printed, to the end that the unprofitable and noxious pains in writing be shunned ; and that each university contribute their travails thereto. And it is thought upon, against the month of March ensuing, viz., that St Andrews take the metaphysics ; that Glasgow take the logics ; Aberdeen the ethics and mathematics ; and Edinburgh the physics. It is thought fit that students are examined publicly on the Black Staine before Lammas, and after their return at Michaelmas, that they be examined in some questions of the Catechism.? Earnest, indeed, were the Scottish universities in their efforts to improve their systems of study. Thus the Commission, whose proposals we have referred to, met again at Edinburgh in 1648, and after renewing the resolutions of the former year, they arranged that every regent be bound ?to prescribe to his scholars all and every part of the said course to be drawn up, and examine the same; with liberty to the regent to add his own considerations besides, by the advice of the Faculty of the University ;? and also, <? that in the draft of the cursus, the text of Aristotle?s logics and physics be kept and shortly anagogued, the textual doubts cleared upon the back of every chapter, or in the analysis and common places, handled after the chapters treating of that matter.?
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