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It was on the 17th and 25th of July that the debates and divisions on the Commission took place; Mr. Hunter's motion being defeated by large majorities. It was a fortunate circumstance that the appointment was not made, as, from what happened afterwards, I could not have regularly acted.
On the 3rd of July, we reached Aberdeen. In August, we had a week's excursion to Strathpeffer, Loch Maree, and Gareloch.
At the meeting of the General Council, in October, three new Assessors fell to be elected under the Universities Act. This gave rise to a good many meetings; and consultations wherein I was more or less involved lasted for several weeks.
On the loth of October, I went to Crieff Hydropathic. Early in November, I was attacked by whooping-cough and laid up for nearly two months, after which, my convalescence was protracted.
The preceding.chapter concludes Professor Bain's Autobiography. The supplementary chapter can be only a brief record of the last thirteen years of his life—from 1890 till his death in September, 1903. The period divides naturally into two epochs, —which are distinguished as before and after a temporary breakdown in his health in the summer of 1896. On recovering from the illness to which he refers in the closing words of the Autobiography, his health remained normal until the month of July, 1896, and he was able to continue the course of life which he had maintained since his retirement from the Chair of Logic. In his daily walks, for many years, he had almost invariably covered a distance of not less than twelve miles; but, by this time, his walking exercise was curtailed, although still amounting to nine miles a day. He had ceased to take part in public gatherings of a social character, but he enjoyed the visits and the society of his friends; while his
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work, both public and private, was uninterrupted. The breakdown in his physical system, already referred to, resulted in a lowered tone during the two following years. He was never actually an invalid, but he found it necessary to readjust his habits to new conditions involving a series of experiments with varying results. His power of sleeping was affected, and this naturally led to a modification in his diet, which was arranged on a still more restricted standard than before. His intercourse with his friends had also to be considerably curtailed—a deprivation which he deplores in his notes of the period; and, for a short time, he took less interest in public events, although any occurrence affecting the interests of the University of Aberdeen rarely failed to elicit a quick response, and he not infrequently referred with pleasure to his early academic experiences. His own carefulness and the accumulated wisdom of nearly eighty years of strictly regulated life, together with unfailing domestic attention to his needs, gradually produced a recovery from this loss of tone. It had become apparent, however, that the strain of so large an amount of walking had told unduly upon his muscular energy, and, for several years before his death, he was content with one afternoon walk, which always followed his carriage
drive. By this change in his habits, he was soon greatly relieved from severe attacks of cramp; and, there being an improvement in his health otherwise, his interest in public affairs and in other matters revived, he read much more than he had done formerly, talked with ease and enjoyment, and welcomed the small number of friends who were still privileged to enjoy his society; conversing freely on a wide range of topics, opening his stores of reminiscence without restraint, and indulging not infrequently in sallies of wit and humour.
The years from 1890-1896 were devoted, for the most part, to academical reform, to the revision of The Senses and the Intellect, and to certain philosophical articles and other literary efforts, including the greater part of the Autobiography.
The appointment of the Scottish Universities Commission, from which he had himself been excluded by political prejudice, made University reorganization a pressing question, and Professor Bain considered it a matter of first importance to give the members of the Commission some guidance as to the feeling and wishes of the Universities themselves. This could best be done by means of the General Council; and, on the 9th April, 1890, he moved for the appointment of a Committee "to investigate and report upon the changes desirable for increasing the efficiency of the University, in as far as the Universities Commission has the power to cany into COMMITTEE OF GENERAL COUNCIL. 403
effect such changes ". He was made Convener of this Committee, and his influence was paramount in it during the period of its operation. The subject that particularly interested him was the curriculum for degrees in Arts; and, on the 7th June, 1890, his Committee reported to the Council the suggestions that they desired to convey to the Commissioners. The report, the adoption of which was moved by the Convener in person, recommended four important changes—the introduction of Options into the curriculum, the institution of a Preliminary Examination and of a Summer Session, and the admission of women to degrees. The proposal for a summer session was little in accordance with the Convener's own views. Not only did he regret the consequent loss of professorial leisure, of which he himself had made such good use, but he regarded with grave apprehension the possibility that two winter and two summer sessions might become a frequent course in Arts. Even the three winter and three summer sessions which his report contemplated seemed not quite satisfactory, and he subsequently carried, as an amendment, the addition of the words, "while retaining the present curriculum of four winter sessions as the normal curriculum ".
The four suggestions of the Committee were adopted by the Council and communicated to the Commissioners, with whose general inclinations they proved to coincide, although there arose several grave practical differences. The Committee on University Changes had, on the 15th October, 1890, been continued as a Committee on Draft Ordinances, and they met the Council with criticisms of each portion of the Commissioners' scheme as it was issued. The great struggle was waged over the famous Ordinance General No. 6—dealing with the regulations for degrees in Arts. It was discussed at a meeting of the Council held on the 19th September, 1891. Two questions roused Dr. Bain's keen interest. The first was the