and advised that the boys should be sent for education to the Edinburgh High School, and the opening of a high school as a day-school for the girls. Laurie's suggestions, submitted in 1868, were embodied in the Act of Parliament (1869) which enabled the Merchant Company of Edinburgh to remove the monastic and to a great extent the eleemosynary aspects of the ‘hospitals.’ In 1872 Laurie became secretary to the royal commission on endowed schools in Scotland. On the recommendations of the third and final report of this commission (1875), the organisation of secondary education proceeded under the executive commissions of Lord Moncrieff in 1878 and of Lord Balfour in 1882–9.
Laurie also took active part in the voluntary educational movements. He was one of those who co-operated with Mrs. Crudelius in founding in 1867 the Edinburgh Ladies' Educational Association, to provide lectures for women on university subjects with a view to women becoming students within the university. This movement issued in the admission of women to the University of Edinburgh in 1892 on the same terms as men for arts subjects. In 1876 he suggested, and as honorary secretary organised, in conjunction with Sir Edward Colebrook, the Association for promoting Secondary Education in Scotland, which held meetings and issued reports until in 1880 the Endowed Institutions Act was passed.
In 1876 the Bell Trustees (who controlled the fund commemorating Dr. Andrew Bell [q. v.], the reformer of elementary education), instituted the Bell chairs of the theory, history, and art of education, one in St. Andrews University, and the other in the University of Edinburgh. John Miller Dow Meiklejohn was made professor at St. Andrews. Laurie was appointed to the Edinburgh chair, and occupied it till 1903. The number of his students rose from twelve in his first year to 120 in his last. During his tenure of the professorship no man in Great Britain did more to set pedagogy upon a scientific and philosophical basis, and to secure for teachers a position similar to that of members of other professions. As a member of the professorial body he was one of the leaders of the reforming party by whose efforts the Universities (Scotland) Act, 1889, was passed and the universities remodelled by subsequent ordinances. In 1891, when he was president of the Teachers' Guild of Great Britain and Ireland, he gave evidence before a select parliamentary committee in favour of the registration and organisation of teachers for public schools of all grades. He was in fact a leader in every educational advance of his time. He fought persistently against bureaucratic dictation in education, and stoutly championed the freedom of local educational authorities from the central control of the board of education.
Throughout a strenuous life of administration, teaching, and writing, the study of metaphysics and philosophy was his constant pre-occupation. In 1866 he published the ‘Philosophy of Ethics: an Analytical Essay,’ and in 1868 ‘Notes, Explanatory and Critical, on Certain British Theories of Morals.’ In 1884 there appeared his important philosophical work ‘Metaphysica Nova et Vetusta’ (under the pseudonym of Scotus Novanticus) and in 1885 followed, under the same pseudonym, ‘Ethica, or the Ethics of Reason.’ These were republished, the former in 1889, the latter in 1891, and in these editions Laurie acknowledged the authorship. Both were translated into French, the former in 1901, the latter in 1902, by Georges Remacle, professeur à l'Athénée royal de Hasselt.
After resigning the chair of education at Edinburgh in 1903 Laurie delivered the Gifford lectures in natural theology there for 1905–6. The first course was on ‘Knowledge’ and the second on ‘God and Man.’ These lectures were embodied in 1906 in his last book ‘Synthetica: being Meditations, Epistemological and Ontological,’ a work which gave Laurie high rank among speculative writers. The book was the basis of the exposition in French by Georges Remacle, ‘La Philosophie de S. S. Laurie.’ He died on 2 March 1909 at 22 George Square, Edinburgh, and was buried in the Grange cemetery there. Laurie married twice: (1) in 1860 Catherine Ann (d 1895), daughter of William Hibburd of Berkshire, by whom he had two sons and two daughters; (2) in 1901 Lucy, daughter of Professor Sir John Struthers. A portrait of Laurie in oils, painted by Fiddes Watt, was presented to Laurie from many admirers on 11 Jan. 1907, and is in the possession of Mrs. Laurie. Laurie received the honorary degree of LL.D. from the universities of St. Andrews in 1887, of Edinburgh in 1903, and of Aberdeen in 1906.
Besides the work already cited, Laurie's published works include: On the theory of education: 1. ‘On Primary Instruction in Relation to Education,’ 1867; 6th edit. 1898. 2. ‘Training of Teachers and other