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himself a party man for King's in every conceivable question; and thereby laid the foundation of his lifelong unpopularity—an unpopularity which was decisively started by his action in the first Rectorial election.



Winter Session, 1860-61.

The serious point of the situation naturally was to find material for carrying on the two classes that I had now to provide for. The designation of the Chair being Logic, Logic had necessarily the largest share of attention. Eight hours a week had been allotted to it by the Commission; but, as it had to dovetail with Natural Philosophy, which had also eight hours—the teaching week consisting of five days,—one of the hours fell at three o'clock on Wednesdays, and gave me three hours' work on that day. The redeeming circumstance was the comparative smallness of the class, from its being purely voluntary. I had to provide successive courses on Psychology and on Logic. The first was a matter of no great difficulty, as I could lecture from my volume on The Senses and the Intellect. For the Logic, I was less prepared. Mill was so obliging as to make me free to order as many copies as I thought fit of his Logic for my class library; and thus I was enabled to put a copy into the hands of every student with a view to the class work. The students then read by turns selected portions, on which I made comments and gave additional illustrations. I had no MS. of my own as yet, and had written nothing for publication on Logic since the number in Chambers's Information.

For the English class, which was entirely new and had to be taught three hours a week, being intended for students of the first year, the selection of topics was as difficult as finding a mode of treating them. I had to take my stand upon the supposed grammatical attainments of entrants into the class, which, at that time, were probably not very great. In the schools, everything was regulated by what was understood to count in the Bursary Competition ; and, hitherto, very little English was included. Still, English Grammar had been more or less taught in all the schools ; and it seemed proper to assume that, and merely to advert to the higher subtleties, without spending much time upon them. Ultimately, the plan was adopted of devoting the first two or three weeks to such topics as those selected for the Companion to the Higher Grammar. The prescription for the Bursary Competition, or rather the questions actually propounded, showed the teachers what to expect; and thus a reasonable amount of grammatical attainment was taken for granted.


After the strictly grammatical portion, came a course of Composition and Rhetoric, which had to be shaped for the first time. Here, too, I had little prepared matter beyond the Chambers's Information articles and scattered notes. I distributed copies of the Information in the class, as a basis of oral exposition. Also, in order to provide easy reference to examples of style, I made a hasty selection of passages, which was put into the students' hands at Christmas. In subsequent years, these extracts were replaced and renewed from time to time, so as to vary and improve the choice. An endeavour was made, in the concluding weeks, to give a summary of English authors,—which could hardly be called a course of literature, but, so far as it went, amounted to the same thing,—that is to say, gave dates of authors, the list of their works, and the recognized specialities of their style.

All this was laid out in the rough during the first session, at the very great disadvantage of having a course in other subjects to carry on and elaborate for the first time. My successful rival and contemporary in St. Andrews, Professor Veitch, so felt the difficulties of the position (which was the same in St. Andrews as in Aberdeen) that he asked Ferrier to write to me for hints and indications that would be of assistance in his teaching; the fact

being that we two stood alone in having to prepare, in the same winter, courses on distinct departments, which properly demanded and have since obtained separate Chairs.

As to Logic, for which I was least prepared, I very soon contemplated and carried into effect the composition of a detailed course of lectures. Basing upon Mill, in all the parts beyond the usual syllogistic treatment, I made a number of changes, some of which had been specified in the Information, while others were gradually evolved as given in my logical treatises. Still, the treatment was so close that Mill's volumes, which might be in every student's hands, formed a convenient adjunct, and saved some lecturing time.

In 1861, a new Education Act was passed which placed the schoolmasters under a new regime, requiring, among other things, that they should appear and be examined at the nearest University seat, before being admitted. This necessitated the appointment of three Arts professors and three Divinity professors to act as examiners. I was appointed as a representative in Arts, and remained at the duty during all the years that the Act was in operation; taking for my department English Grammar, Geography, and Reading. The effect of this examination upon schoolmasters' attainments could not be said to be great. Much stress was laid upon the Shorter Catechism, which was specially mentioned in the Act; and one of the Divinity professors subjected the candidates to a trial of their understanding and of their mode of teaching selected questions. The system, of course, gave place to the Education Act of 1872.

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