reign of confusion; he had thrown the subject back, being himself off the rails from first to last. Had there been in Scotland an adviser in this department, like Melville in general literature, or like Napier of Merchiston in pure mathematics, one fourth of the college teaching might have been reclaimed from utter waste, and a healthy tone of thinking diffused through the remainder.
A curious fascination always attached to the study of astronomy, even when there was not much to be said, apart from the unsatisfactory disquisition of Aristotle. A little book, entitled "Sacrobosco on the Sphere," containing little more than what we should now teach to boys and girls, along with the globes, was a university text-book throughout Europe for centuries. I was informed by a late King's College professor that the use of the globes was, within his memory, taught in the Magistrand Class. This would be simply what is termed a "survival."
Now, as to the mode of instruction. There were viva-voce examinations upon the notes, such as we can imagine. But the stress was laid on disputations and declamations in various forms. Besides disputing and declaiming on the regular class-work before the regent, we find that, in Edinburgh, and I suppose elsewhere, the classes were divided into companies, who met apart, and conferred and debated among themselves daily. The students were occupied, altogether, six hours a day. Then the higher classes were frequently pitched against each other. This was a favorite occupation on Saturdays. The doctrines espoused by the leading students became their nicknames. The pass for graduation consisted in the propugning or impugning of questions by each candidate in turn. An elaborate thesis was drawn up by the regent, giving the heads of his philosophy course; this was accepted by the candidates, signed by them, and printed at their expense. Then on the day of trial, at a long sitting, each candidate stood up and propugned or impugned a portion of the thesis; all were heard in turn; and on the result the degree was conferred. A good many of these theses are preserved in our library; some of them are very long—a hundred pages of close type; they are our best clew to the teaching of the period. We can see how far Aristotle was qualified by modern views.
I said there might have been times when the students never had the relief of a second face all the four years. The exceptions are of importance. First, as regards Marischal College. Within a few years of the foundation, Dr. Duncan Liddell founded the Mathematical chair, and thus withdrew from the regents the subject that most of all needed a specialist; a succession of very able mathematicians sat in this chair. King's College had not the same good fortune. From its foundation it possessed a separate functionary, the Humanist or Grammarian; but he had also, till 1753, to act as Rector of the Grammar School. Edinburgh obtained from an early date a Mathematical