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Old and New Edinburgh Vol. V


University.] THE NEW BUILDING COMPLETED. 2 3 Elder being Lord Provost of the city, William Robertson, Principal of the University, and Robert Adam, the architect. ? May the undertaking prosper and be crowned with success.? The proceedings of the day were closed by a princely banquet in the Assembly Rooms. The building was now begun, and, portion by portion, the old edifices engrafted on those of the Kirk-of-Field gave place to the stately quadrangular university of the present day; and, as nearly as can be ascertained, on the spot occupied by the Senate Hall stood that fatal tenement in which King Henry was lodged on his return from Glas gow, and which was partly blown up on the night of his assassination, between the 9th and 10th of February, 1567. In the repaired portion some of the professors resided, and it was averred to be ghost haunted, and the abode of mysterious sounds. The foundation stone of the old university-if it ever had one-was not discovered during the erection of the present edifice. The magistrates, with more zeal for the celebrity of the city than consideration for their financial resources, having wished that-subscriptions apart-they should bear the chief cost of the erection, it remained for more than twenty years after the foundation-stone was laid a monument of combined vanity, rashness, and poverty, Government, as usual in most Scottish matters, especially in those days, withholding all aid. Yet, in 1790, when Profess01 William Cullen, first physician to His Majesty in Scotland, and holder of the chair of medicine from 1773, died, it was proposed (( to erect a . statue to him in the new university,? the walls of which were barely above the ground. Within the area of the latter masses of the old buildings still remained, and in the following year, 1761, these gave accommodation to 1,255 students. In that year we learn from the Scots Magazine that the six noble pillars which adorn the front, each 22 feet 4 inches high, and in diameter 3 feet 3 inches, were erected. These were brought from Craigleith quarry, each drawn by sixteen horses. Kincaid records that the total sum subscribed by the end of February, 1794, amounted to only If;32,000. Hence the work languished, and at times was abandoned for want of funds; and about that time we read of a meeting of Scottish officers held at Calcutta, who subscribed a sum towards its completion, the Governor-General, Lord Cornwallis, heading the list with a contribution ol 3,000 sicca rupees. But many parts of the edifice remained an open aid unfinished ruin, in which crows and other . birds built their nests ; and a strange dwarf, known as Geordie More (who died so lately as 1828), built unto himself a species of booth or hut at the college gate unchallenged. In an old (( Guide to Edinburgh,? published in 181 I, we read thus of the building :-? It cannot said to be yet half finished, notwithstanding the prodigious sums expended upon it ; if we advert to the expenses which will unavoidably atttend the completing of its ichnography or inside accommodations, and, without the interference of the Legislature, it will perhaps be exhibited to posterity as a melancholy proof of the poverty of the nation.? This state of matters led to the complete curtailment of Adam?s grand designs, and modifications of them were ultimately accomplished by Mr. W. H. Playfair, after Parliament, in 1815, granted an annual sum of LIO,OOO for ten years to finish the work, which, however, was not completely done till 1834; and since then, the idea of the great central dome, which was always a part of the original design, seems now to have been entirely abandoned. The university, as we find it now, presents its main front to South Bridge Street, and forms an entire side respectively to West College Street, to South College Street, and to Chambers Street on the north. It is a regular parallelogram, 356 feet long by 225 wide, extending in length east and west, and having in its centre a stately quadrangular court. The main front has some exquisite, if simple, details, and is of stupendous proportions. In style, within and without, it is partly Palladian and partly Grecian, but is so pent up by the pressure of adjacent streetson three sides, at least-that it can never be seen to advantage, It has been said that were the university ? situated in a large park, particularly upon a rising ground, it would appear almost sublime, and without a parallel among the modern edifices of Scotland ; but situated as it is, it makes upon the mind of a stranger, in its exterior views at least, impressions chiefly of bewilderment and confusion.? It is four storeys in height, and is entered by three grand and lofty arched porticoes from the east ; at the sides of these are the great Craigleith columns above referred to, each formed of a single stone. On the summit is a vast entablature, bearing the following inscription, cut in Roman letters :- ?Academia Jacobi VI., Scotorum Regis anno post Christum natum b1,DLXXXII. instituta ; annoque M,DCC,LXXXIX., renovari coepta ; regnante Georgio III. Principe munificentissimo ; Urbis Edinensis Pmfecto
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24 OLD AND NEW EDINBURGH. [University. Thoma Elder : Academire Primario Gulielmo Rabertson. Architecto, Roberto Adam." The ranges of buildings around the inner court are in a plain but tasteful Grecian style, and have an elegant stone balustrade, forming a kind of paved gallery, which is interrupted only by the entrance, and by flights of steps that lead to the library, museum, the Senzte Hall, and various class-rooms. At the angles on the west side are spacious arcade piazzas, and in the centre is a fine statue of Sir David Brewster. At the Treaty of Union with England, and when the Act of Security was passed, all the Acts passed by the Scottish Parliament, defining the rights, privileges, and imniunities of this and the other universities of Scotland, were fully ratified ; but its privileges and efficiency have been since augmented by the Scottish Universities Act, passed in 1858, making provision for their better government and discipline, and for the improvement and regulation of the course of study therein. It is now a corporation consisting of a chancellor, who is elected for life by the General Council, whose sanction must be given to all internal arrangements, and through whom degrees are conferred, and the first of whom was Lord Brougham ; a vice-chancellor, who acts in absence of :he former, and who has the duty of acting as returning officer at Parliamentary elections, an3 the first of whom was Sir David Brewster; a rector, who is elected by the matriculated students, and whose term of office is three years, and among whom have been William Ewart Gladstone, Thomas Carlyle, Lord Moncneff, Sir W. Stirling-Maxwell, and others ; a representative in Parliament, elected in common with the University of St. Andrewsthe first M.P. being Dr. Lyon Playfair. After these come the university court, which has the power of reviewing all the decisions of the Senatus Academicus, the attention of professors as to their modes, of teaching, Szc, the regulation of class fees, the suspension and censure of professors, the control of the pecuniary concerns of the university, " including funds mortified for bursaries and other purposes." This court holds the patronage of the Chair of Music, and a share in that of Agriculture, and it consists of the rector, the principal, and six assessors, one of whom is elected by the Town CGuncil. By the Act of 1858 the patronage of seventeen cliairs, previously in the gift of the latter body, was transferred to seven curators, who hold office for three years. They also have the appointment of the principal, who is the resident head of the college for life. He, with the whole of the professors, constitutes the Senate, which is entrusted with the entire administration of the university-its revenues, property, library, museums, and buildings, &c.; and the business is conducted by a secretary. The chairs of the university are comprehended in the four faculties, each of which is presided over by a dean, elected from among the professors of each particular faculty, and through whom the students recommended for degrees are presented to the Senatus. The following is a list of the principals elected since 1582, all of them famoils in literature or art :- 1585. Robert Rollock. 1599. Henry Charteris. 1620. Patrick Sands. 1622. Robert Boyd. 1623. John Adamson. 1652. Williain Colville. 1653. Robert Leighton. ' 1662. William Colville. 1675. Andrew Cant. 1685. Alexander Monro. 1690. Gilbert Rule. 1703. William Carstares. 1716. William Wishart. 1730. William Hamilton. 1732. James Smith. 1736. William Wishart recunlfus. 1754. John Gowdie. 1762. Willmm Robertson. 1793. Geo. Husband Baird. 1840. John Lee. 1859. Sir David Brewster. 1868. Sir Alex. Grant, Bart. To attempt to enumerate all the brilliant alumni who in their various Faculties have shed a glory over the University of Edinburgh, would far exceed our limits ; but an idea of its progress in literature, science, and art, may be gathered from the following enumeration of the professorships, with the dates when founded, and the names of the first ho!der of the chairs. Those of Greek, Logic and Metaphysics, Moral and Natural Philosophy, were occupied by the regents in rotation from 1583, when Robert Rollock was first Regent, till 1708. 3 FmuZzy of Arts. Humanity, 1597. John Ray, Professor. Mathematics, 1674. James Gregory. Greek, 1708. William Scott. Logic and Metaphysics, 1708. Moral Philosophy, 1708. William Law. Natural Philosophy, 1708. Robert Stewart. Rhetoric, 1762. Hugh Blair. Astronomy, 1786. Robert Biair. Agriculture, 1790. Andrew Coventry. Theory of Music, 1839. John Thornson. Technology, 1855. George Wilson. (Abolished 18.59.) Sanskrit, 1862. Theodor Aufrecht. Engineering, 1868. Iileeming Jenkin. Commercial Economy, 1871. Education, 1876. Simon Lnurie. Fine Arts, 1880. Baldwin Rrown. Gmlogr~, 1871. Archibald Geikie. Colin Druniinoiid. W. B. Hodgson.
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