from the Lectures of Peter Ramus, and used in all our colleges till superseded by the better compilation of the Dutch scholar, Gerard John Voss.
Melville had to contend with many opponents, among them the sticklers for the infallibility of the Stagyrite. Like the German Reformers, he had accepted Aristotelianism as a basis, with a similar process of reconciliation. So it was that Aristotle and Calvin were brought to kiss each other.
Melville's next proposal was all too revolutionary. It consisted in restricting the regents each to a special group of subjects; in fact, anticipating our modern professoriate. He actually set up this plan in Glasgow: one regent took Greek and Latin; another, his nephew, James Melville, took mathematics, logic, and moral philosophy; a third, physics and astronomy. The system went on, in appearance, at least, for fifty years; it is only in 1642 that we find the regents given without a specific designation. Why it should have gone on so long, and been then dropped, we are not informed. Melville's influence started it in the other universities, but it was defeated in every one from the very outset. After six years at Glasgow, he went to St. Andrews as Principal and Professor of Divinity, and tried there the same reforms, but the resistance was too great. In spite of a public enactment, the division of labor among the regents was never carried out. Yet, such was Melville's authority, that the same enactment was extended to King's College, in a scheme having a remarkable history—the so-called New Foundation of Aberdeen University, promulgated in a royal charter of about the year 1581. The Earl Marischal was a chief promoter of the plan of reform comprised in this charter. The division of labor among the regents was most expressly enjoined. The plan fell through; and there was a legal dispute fifty years afterward as to whether it had ever any legal validity. Charles I was made to express indignation at the idea of reducing the university to a school!
We now approach the foundation of Marischal College. The Earl Marischal may have been actuated by the failure of his attempt to reform King's College. At all events, his mind was made up to follow Melville in assigning separate subjects to his regents. The charter is explicit on this head. Yet, in spite of the charter and in spite of his own presence, the intention was thwarted; the old regenting lasted one hundred and sixty years.
Still the curriculum reform was gained. There was, indeed, one great miss. The year before Marischal College was founded, Galileo had published his work on mechanics, which, taken with what had been accomplished by Archimedes and others, laid the foundations of our modern physics. Copernicus had already published his work on the heavens. It was now time that the Aristotelian Physics should be clean swept away. In this whole department, Aristotle had made a