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Old and New Edinburgh Vol. IV


The Old High School.] RECTORS AND TEACHERS, 291 , in use to teach in those mornings and forenoons. And considering that the ordinary Latin rudiments in use to be taught children at their beginning to the Latin tongue is difficult and hard for beginners, and that Wedderburn?s Rudiments are more plain and easy, the Council ordain the said masters in time coming, to teach and begin their scholars with Wedderburn?s Rudiments in place of the Latin Rudiments in use as taught formerly. Ro. CHIESLIE, Provost.?? David Wedderburn, whose work is thus referred to, was born about 1570, and was the accomplished author of many learned works, and died, it is supposed, about 1644, soon after the publication of his ?? Centuria Tertia.? In 1699 A40 Scots was voted by the magistrates to procure books as a reward for the best scholars, and when the century closed the institution was in a most creditable condition, and they-as patrons -declared that ?? not a few persons that are now eminent for piety and learning, both in Church and State, had been educated there.? In the year I 7 I 6 there was an outbreak among the scholars for some reason now unknown ; but they seem to have conducted themselves in an outrageous manner, demolishing every pane of glass in the school, and also of Lady Yester?s church, levelling to the earth even the solid stone wall which enclosed the school-yard. About this time the janitor of the institution was David Malloch, a man distinguished in after life as author of the beautiful ballad of ? William and Margaret,? a poet and miscellaneous writer, and under-secretary to the Prince of Wales in 1733; to please the English ear, he changed his name to Mallet, and became an avowed infidel, and a venal author of the worst description. Dr. Steven refers to his receipt as being extant, dated 2nd February, 1718, ?for sixteen shillings and eight pence sterling, being his full salary for the preceding half-year. That was the exact period he held the office.? In 1736 we again hear of the BZeis-siher, cca profitable relic of popery, which it seemed difficult to relinquish.? Heartburnings had arisen because it had become doubtful in what way the Candlemas offerings should be apportioned between the rector and masters; thus, on the 28th January in that year, the Council resolved that the rector himself, and no other, shall collect, not only his own quarterly fees, but also the fee of one shilling from each scholar in the other classes. The Council also transferred the right from the master of the third, to the mzster of the first elementary class, to demand a shilling quarterly from each pupil in the rector?s class; and declared that the rector and four masters should favourably receive from the scholars themselves whatever benevolence or Candlemas offerings might be presented.? Thomas Ruddiman, the eminent grammarian and scholar, who was born at Boyndie in 1674 and who in 1724 began to vary his great literary undertakings by printing the ancient Cdedonian Mercqv, about I 737 established-together with the rector, the masters, and thirty-one other persons- a species of provident association for their own benefit and that of their widows and children, and adopting as the title of the society, ?The Company of the Professors and Teachers of the liberal arts and sciences, or any branch or part thereof, in the City of Edinburgh and dependencies thereof.? The co-partners were all taxed equally; but owing to inequalities in the yearly contributions, a dissolution nearly took place after an existence of fifty years; but the association rallied, and stcl exists in a flourishing condition. One of the most popular masters in the early part of the eighteenth century was Mr. James Barclay, who was appointed in June, 1742, and whose experience as a teacher, attainments, and character, caused him to be remembered by his scholars long after his removal to Dalkeith, where he died in 1765. When Henry Mackenzie, author of the ?? Man of Feeling,? was verging on his eightieth year, he contributed to Dr. Steven?s CL History,? his reminiscences of the school in his own early years, between 1752 and 1757, which we are tempted to quote at length :- ?Rector Lees, a very respectable, grave, and gentlemanlike man, father or uncle, I am not sure which, of Lees, the Secretary for Ireland. He maintained great dignity, treating the other masters somewhat de had a bar; severe, and rather too intolerant of dulness, but kind to more promising talents. It will not be thought vanity, I trust-for I speak with the sincerity and correctness of a third person-when I say that I was rather a favourite with him, and used for several years after he resigned his office to drink tea with him at his house in a large land or building at the country end of the suburb called Pleasance, built by one Hunter, a tailor, whence it got the name of ? Hunter?s Folly,? or the Castle 0? Clouts.? cc MAsrERs continued-Ersf, or youngest class, when I was put to school, Farquhar, a native of Banffshire, cousin-german of Farquhar, author of admired-and indeed t h q may be called admirable- sermons, and of Mr. Farquhar, the Vicar of Hayes, a sort of Parson Adams,? a favourite ot
Volume 4 Page 291
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