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celebrated authors whose merit lay exclusively in the subject-matter, from others valued wholly or partly for their style. The writings of Sir Isaac Newton, John Locke, and Bishop Butler—almost always mentioned in histories of Literature—should not strictly be so included, but find their place in the history of the several branches of knowledge that they refer to.
The retirement of Professor Brazier from the Chair of Chemistry led to a contribution extending over three numbers in October and November, on the history of chemical teaching in Aberdeen. It was mainly through my acquaintance with Thomas Clark, and the facts and incidents obtained verbally from him, that I was able to impart any novelty to the narrative.
I was led to put in print my recollections of Dr. Knight, professor of Natural Philosophy in Marischal College, through the circumstance that no proper biography, or, indeed, none at all, had as yet been given of him. He had left behind him a large quantity of MSS. relating to the history of Marischal College and to the incidents of his own connexion with it, while nothing had been done to work these up so as to set forth his own career and remarkable individuality. What I undertook was simply to furnish my own recollections as material to be employed by any future biographer.
Having had an application from Auberon Herbert to contribute to a volume he was about to
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publish on the injurious pressure of examinations, I had to prepare a statement of views on the subject, and had to counter-argue what I considered the extreme position he had taken up on the matter. The paper appeared in his published volume, with the omission of what I regarded as an essential part of the argument.
We went to London in January (1889), and saw Robertson as usual, but did not stay in his house. I had discussed with him, in the previous year, the preparation of a statement and defence of the Empiricist position, which had been frequently adverted to and misconceived by writers in Mind, as well as others. He was decidedly of opinion that a paper should be drawn up such as to do justice to our common views on the whole subject. This had been my chief writing occupation in the autumn of 1888. It was read at the Aristotelian Society, on the 21st January, 1889. The discussion in the Society had no serious import; it being scarcely to be expected that the members could offer an effective criticism on the spur of the moment to such a large number of vital questions. The paper appeared in the July number of Mind.
The proper position of Experience as the real source of our knowledge had first to be cleared up. The old antithesis of the innate and the experiential is hardly suitable at the present time; and the nearest approach to an indication of the points at issue was given by making the question turn not upon origin, but upon validity.
The first topic developed was what is commonly meant by Epistemology, as being the prime origin of knowledge, regarded as either individual or general. A still more extensive discussion had to be expended upon the Uniformity of Nature, taken, of course, in regard to the source of its validity.
The great Perception question is disposed of in the manner already adopted in previous handlings of the difficulty. The antithesis of Thought and Eeality expressed under a variety of synonyms is minutely overhauled. The propriety of the different contrasting designations is successively canvassed, and the conclusion reached is that there is but one genuine issue traceable,—namely, what is signified under the couplings, Relative—Absolute, Knowable—Unknowable, when these are brought within the limits of actual human interest.
The chief point omitted, as passing the limits of the paper, is the building up of the Subject, otherwise expressed as " Personality," from a posteriori elements, as with the notions of Space, Time, and Cause. An attempt of this nature was subsequently made in a paper on the " Definition and Problems of Consciousness " (Mind, July, 1894).
I left for London on the 22nd of April. On the 17th of May, I paid a visit to Dr. Tylor at Oxford, and saw through his museum, dining at his house with a large party of Oxford men. I remained in London for five weeks.
During these five weeks, I attended two meetings of the Aristotelian Society; one being occupied with a paper on "The Psychology of Sport and Play," by A. M. Ogilvie (May 13),
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and the other by G. F. Stout (May 27), on "The development of the Distinction between the Physical and the Mental, considered from the Psychological point of view". In regard to the first paper, I endeavoured to widen the scope of the illustration by adducing various elements not recognized in the paper.
Dr. G. J. Stoney had given notice to the Society of a paper entitled "The Nature of Force," to be made the subject of a symposium, in which he desired me to take a part. Unfortunately, the date that suited his convenience (June 17) did not suit mine, as I was then absent from London. However, having been provided with a copy of his paper, I wrote my own observations upon it, and these were read at the meeting. I was now suffering from very great nervous exhaustion, and the composition of the paper was accomplished with no small difficulty.
On the 30th of May, we left London for Paris, on the way to Vichy, for the sake of the waters. Here we stayed for three weeks, within constant sight of the Puy-de-D6me, celebrated in Science as well as in Geography. For my own part, I had no choice in the matter of treatment but to take the baths regularly provided, which were all tepid, as well as impregnated with saline constituents. I had little reason to suppose that such treatment would give me the bracing that I required; but we made the most of the place, driving about in the surrounding country. On the way home, we stayed at Paris some days, and saw the huge exhibition of that year. Arriving in London on the 25th of June, I consulted Dr. James Anderson, and was assured that there was nothing seriously the matter with me, and that the nervous symptoms were merely want of tone. It was after this assurance that I gave my consent to Hunter and Bryce to be nominated as one of the Commission to be appointed in the Universities Bill then going through Committee in the House of Commons.
The following insertion was made in the two local papers:—
"Dr. Bain desires us to state, with reference to the discussion in the House of Commons on the propriety of including him in the Universities Commission, that he has been for some time pressed by both the city members to allow his name to be proposed, but held back from dread of the fatigue of so many Edinburgh journeys, with his advanced years and not strong health. Only when Government's seemingly final list was submitted, without a single man that could, by possibility, have the means of knowing our system, past and present, was his reluctance overcome. It was not merely that such a Commission could hardly help being unjust to Aberdeen in the scramble of interests, but because the misunderstandings that would arise, with no one to correct on the spot, must lead to a waste of time in correspondence and deputations, and be otherwise injurious."