been in personal danger. They hinted their dislike, if a tradition mentioned by Dr. McCosh be correct, by ducking him in a pond. One of his uncles, it is added, had to guard the pulpit stairs with a sword. He gradually overcame their prejudices, and won a popularity which was increased by his marriage in 1740 to Elizabeth, daughter of his uncle, George Reid, a London physician. Their benevolence, according to Dugald Stewart, was remembered with gratitude after Reid's death. Reid showed his modesty by preaching the sermons of ‘Tillotson and Evans’ (probably John Evans, D.D., 1680?–1730 [q. v.]). He was accused of concealing his obligations, but it is added that he industriously practised himself in original composition. He was also engaged in speculative studies, and in 1748 he contributed to the ‘Philosophical Transactions’ an ‘Essay upon Quantity,’ attacking Hutcheson's application of mathematical formulæ to ethical questions. On 28 Oct. 1751 Reid succeeded Alexander Rait in a ‘regentship’ at King's College, Aberdeen. The old system of ‘regenting’ was changed at this time with Reid's co-operation. He became ‘professor of philosophy,’ but each class went through its whole course for the last three of the four years under the same professor. Reid's course of lectures included ‘mathematics and physics’ as well as ‘logic and ethics.’ He appears to have been an active mover in measures adopted at this time to improve the studies and discipline of the college. New regulations were issued in 1753. They provided that less time should be devoted than hitherto to the scholastic writers. A large part of the course was to be given to studies of Greek, in which Reid appears to have been much interested (Works, ed. Hamilton, p. 38 n.); the third year was to be given to mathematics and ‘natural philosophy,’ and the fourth to the ‘philosophy of the human mind,’ of which a very wide definition, due apparently to Reid, is given. The length of the session was increased from five to seven months; residence within the college walls enforced; and the students were seen regularly ‘nine or ten times throughout the day’ by Reid or ‘other of the masters’ (Rait, Universities of Aberdeen, pp. 199–203, 223). A student's notes of a course of Reid's lectures are in possession of Mr. R. S. Rait. They include statics, dynamics, astronomy, magnetism, electricity, hydrostatics, pneumatics, and optics, some of these topics being of course in a very elementary stage.
Reid, with his cousin, John Gregory (1724–1773) [q. v.], ‘mediciner’ at the university, founded in 1758 the Philosophical Society, nicknamed the ‘Wise Club,’ which lasted till 1773, and held weekly meetings at the Red Lion inn. Beattie and George Campbell were members. The minutes are preserved in the Aberdeen University library. A list of many of the topics discussed is given by McCosh. Several books published by members appear to have been suggested at these meetings, and Reid's last papers were parts of his first book which was soon to be published. Hume's ‘Treatise,’ published in 1739, had naturally provided topics. Reid tells Hume that if he gave up writing, the society would be at a loss for subjects; and one result was Reid's ‘Inquiry into the Human Mind,’ which was published in 1764. The book, which was the fruit of long study, made an impression from the first. Reid communicated his book before publication to Hume, through their common friend, Dr. Blair; and Hume wrote a courteous letter to his opponent, who frankly acknowledged that his speculations had been suggested by Hume's writings. The ‘Inquiry’ was well received as an answer to Hume's scepticism, and soon reached a second edition. It apparently led to Reid's election in the same year, 22 May 1764, to the professorship of moral philosophy at Glasgow, vacated by Adam Smith's resignation. He had, 18 Jan. 1762, received the honorary degree of D.D. from Marischal College.
Reid held his professorship at Glasgow until his death. He appears to have discharged his duties industriously and efficiently. He lectured five days a week for two and sometimes three hours. The number of students at Glasgow was about three hundred in 1764, and rose to over six hundred by the end of the century. Many of them were Irish presbyterians, preparing for the ministry. Reid wished that there could be one professor for the dunces, and another for the clever. He was at first, however, in some awe of the older students, who often attended classes for four or five years. According to Dugald Stewart, who attended his lectures in 1772, his simplicity, clearness, and earnestness always secured for him the most respectful attention. The salary depended chiefly upon fees, a system which he warmly praises as stimulating the professors to energy (Works, p. 733). He had a class of one hundred at starting, and expected to make about 100l. in fees in the session. The subjects of the lectures were natural theology, ethics, and political science, to which Reid voluntarily added a course of ‘rhetoric’ (Works, pp. 10, 40, 46, 721–39).
Reid had some distinguished colleagues, especially Joseph Black and John Millar