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Academic Patronage in the Scottish Enlightenment

Academic Patronage in the Scottish Enlightenment: Glasgow, Edinburgh and St Andrews Universities

Roger L. Emerson
Copyright Date: 2008
Pages: 704
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.3366/j.ctt1r2642
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  • Book Info
    Academic Patronage in the Scottish Enlightenment
    Book Description:

    This archivally based book on the 388 Scottish professors 1690-1806 adds much to what is known about how they got their jobs, about the universities of Scotland, and about Scottish politics in that period.

    eISBN: 978-0-7486-3129-2
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-viii)
  3. PREFACE
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. A NOTE ABOUT THE TEXT
    (pp. xi-xi)
  5. ABBREVIATIONS
    (pp. xii-xii)
  6. PART I PRELIMINARIES

    • 1 INTRODUCTION
      (pp. 3-18)

      Accounts of enlightenments deal too much with ideas while ignoring improvements and those who made them. We read about thinkers and artists who are said to have made or contributed to enlightenments but our accounts exclude too much of the social context and too many of those who shaped it. We particularly lack accounts of the patrons who made successful careers possible and who found it in their interests to further the work of improvers and the enlightened. One can read classic studies of the European Enlightenment, such as Ernst Cassirer’s The Philosophy of the Enlightenment (1932), and find little...

  7. PART II GLASGOW UNIVERSITY

    • 2 GLASGOW UNIVERSITY TO 1701
      (pp. 21-42)

      A study of patronage in an eighteenth-century university should begin with the legal structures that defined the corporations in which patronage was awarded. Knowing those is knowing how they could be manipulated and managed.

      At Glasgow there were two chartered corporations: the College and the University of Glasgow. The University had as its chief officers the chancellor, rector and dean. The first, in Episcopal times, usually had been the Archbishop of Glasgow, whose powers were those assigned to the chancellor at Bologna.¹ Under the Presbyterians, in 1692, a chancellor was elected by the rector and the masters who lacked a...

    • 3 PRINCIPAL STIRLING’S REGIME: FAMILY AND POLITICS, 1701–1725
      (pp. 43-83)

      The Scottish political environment of Stirling’s early years as principal was much like that of the 1690s – no Scottish political faction was dominant and the kaleidoscope of politics changed almost yearly as magnates struggled against one another to make the most of the pickings in their poor kingdom.¹ The great issues of these years centred on what to do to make the Scottish state viable and how to improve it. This required men to take stands on the relations that Scots should have with the English. Scots could maintain a sovereign state ruled by a King not the King of...

    • 4 GLASGOW UNDER THE CAMPBELLS, 1725–1742
      (pp. 84-106)

      The Visitation of 1726–7 was the last important event of Stirling’s years as principal and one which marked the end of his effective power and that of his party. A Visitation may have been requested by the Squadrone politicians in January of 1726. They were thinking about one which would finally settle the manner of the election of the rector and try to bring peace to the troubled College.¹ When the Commission was struck, on 31 August 1726, it was Ilay who chose its members and it was his aims which were fulfilled. The Visitors were not Stirling’s friends...

    • 5 SQUADRONE GLASGOW AND THE RETURN OF THE DUKE OF ARGYLL, 1742–1761
      (pp. 107-149)

      The decline of Ilay’s faction was quick in coming and occurred even before Walpole resigned in February 1742. John Graham reported to Mungo Graham of Gorthy early in 1741, long before the spring parliamentary elections of MPs, that only two or three professors were firm Argathelians. He was sure that the election of a new chancellor, which he expected soon, would be ‘an affront upon them’. It came later than he had hoped but it was an affront: the 2nd Duke of Montrose was installed in 1743, which ensured that tensions in the corporations would continue for years to come.¹...

    • 6 THE AGE OF BUTE AND THE MODERATES
      (pp. 150-177)

      Archibald Campbell, the greatest of the Dukes of Argyll, died on 15 April 1761. Principal Neil Campbell, who had long been disabled by illness and ineffective as an administrator or teacher, died toward the end of the following June. Their deaths set off a wave of changes which transformed the University of Glasgow. Those changes were made with the guidance of a new set of outsiders, initially men associated with John Stuart, 3rd Earl of Bute (1713–10 March 1792).

      Bute was Argyll’s nephew and like him in some respects. He was a more notable amateur scientist whose specialities were...

    • 7 GLASGOW UNIVERSITY IN THE AGE OF DUNDAS
      (pp. 178-208)

      Henry Dundas had been a bright student at Edinburgh University with many friends in the Belles Lettres Society and the Speculative Society of which he was an early member.¹ Those friendships persisted but the clubs changed into the Feast of the Tabernacles and then, in the 1770s, into the Mirror Club. That produced the famous periodical called The Mirror (1779) and later The Lounger (1785–7). In those groups, Henry Mackenzie, ‘the Man of Feeling’, led a passel of other lawyers and literary men who formed for Dundas a bridge to some of the literary intellectuals of his time. While...

  8. PART III EDINBURGH UNIVERSITY

    • 8 EDINBURGH UNIVERSITY TO 1704
      (pp. 211-230)

      Edinburgh University was different from the other universities. It was the largest and most prestigious of the universities. It was at the centre of national life and in the most intellectually vibrant place in the country. For at least part of the year, the city attracted members of the political elite who enjoyed the social amenities of the city as they attended court and sought suitors for their daughters and jobs for their sons. The competition for university posts in Edinburgh was greater than elsewhere because salaries and fees were higher (see Appendix 1). Some posts, such as the divinity...

    • 9 EDINBURGH APPOINTMENTS IN THE FACULTY OF DIVINITY
      (pp. 231-251)

      The clearest illustrations of political interference in Scottish academic affairs are to be found in the appointments of the principals of the universities. The principals were important national figures who sat often in the General Assembly which met each spring. The Edinburgh principal ordinarily had a hand in the administration of Crown patronage in the Kirk, and might also be important in burgh politics. Principals played a role in administering the patronage of their universities and colleges. They received relatively high salaries. In the aristocratic world of the eighteenth century, the selection of such men could not be left to...

    • 10 CHAIRS OF INTEREST TO LAWYERS
      (pp. 252-272)

      The arts faculty was for a long time principally constituted by five regents. The junior member of this group, the humanist, taught humanity or Latin; the rest taught all the other subjects studied by arts students – Greek, philosophy and, before there was a mathematics professor, mathematics. Scottish lawyers had long taken a special interest in the teaching of Latin because their classes were given in Latin. The professors on the continent, where Scots lawyers generally trained before the 1730s, also taught background courses on Roman history, which was useful to those studying civil law. These courses were given in Latin.¹...

    • 11 SURGICAL AND MEDICAL CHAIRS
      (pp. 273-324)

      The medical chairs were similar to those in law and unlike the ones in divinity.¹ Deference was shown to the assessments of competence made by practitioners but a candidate’s politics and his connections were always of interest. But patronage to the medical chairs was a more complicated matter because there were more interests to consider. Surgeons and physicians, like writers and advocates, had corporate interests to protect. So too did the University and the town as the numbers of medical students increased to become of great economic importance. By the end of the eighteenth century, the medical school in Edinburgh...

    • 12 THE ARTS CHAIRS
      (pp. 325-364)

      Having looked earlier at the appointments of 1690, we need now to consider the later appointments to chairs from which were taught the subjects of the core curriculum other than Latin: Greek, mathematics and philosophy. Most is known about the mathematics appointments, which were always made with an eye to the competence of the appointees. This may even have counted more than politics, which was never altogether lacking.

      The first of the men appointed to the new chair in 1674 was said to have been at least partially picked by Sir Andrew Balfour, a virtuoso who, with Sir Robert Sibbald,...

  9. PART IV ST ANDREWS UNIVERSITY

    • 13 THE ARTS CHAIRS, 1690–c. 1715
      (pp. 367-405)

      St Andrews and its University was unlike the other Scottish university towns and their universities. The history of the University and its colleges in this period has been poorly preserved and is not well known. There are for this period no great printed collections of documents comparable to the Munimenta Universitatis Glasguensis (1854) or the similar volumes for the Aberdeen universities published by the Spalding Club (1854–98). One cannot find in print a record of much of the official life of the University during the eighteenth century or dense descriptions of the local society in which it operated. There...

    • 14 ST MARY’S COLLEGE AND OTHER APPOINTMENTS, 1713–1747
      (pp. 406-440)

      Positions at St Mary’s College were filled by politicians with one eye fixed on the religious views of the men appointed and the other on political advantage. It is not surprising that the initial appointment of 1690 should have been of a man who had suffered, and who had been chaplain to the Earl of Cassillis who himself had suffered even more.¹ What is surprising is that there were no other appointments to fill other chairs in the College until 1695 and 1699. The divinity school must have been nearly non-functional for much of the 1690s because William Vilant, its...

    • 15 THE UNTOLD STORY
      (pp. 441-458)

      The impression of the University given in the story of its appointments so far does not do justice to its accomplishments during this period. St Andrews was not so lively a place as expanding and changing Glasgow or Edinburgh but it was not altogether dull and lifeless. It aspired to keeping up with its competitors though it failed to do so.

      William Vilant and James Preston, its humanists in 1699, ‘offered to the University ane overture, That the University by their act would be pleased to Warrant and allow them to teach Lessons of history and Romi antiquity to all...

    • 16 THOMAS TULLIDEPH’S ST ANDREWS, 1747–1777
      (pp. 459-490)

      Principal Tullideph became the dominant figure at St Andrews after his appointment as principal at St Leonard’s in 1739. During his tenure at St Leonard’s and then as principal of the United College, the level of government involvement with the University steadily increased. After 1747, valuable places ensured the attention of political managers such as Ilay, his nephews, John Stuart, 3rd Earl of Bute, and James Stuart Mackenzie, and William Mure of Caldwell, Baron of Exchequer. These four men were all more interested in seeing university positions go to those best qualified to serve in them than had been the...

    • 17 THE DUNDAS ERA AT ST ANDREWS, 1780–1806
      (pp. 491-520)

      By 1780, Scotland, indeed Britain, differed greatly from what they had been at mid-century. The economy had done well. Scots were noticed in the intellectual world but the American war was not going well and had begun to drain the country’s energies and income and was focusing the attention of some on political dissidents. The anti-Catholic riots of 1779 in Scotland and continuing agitation in London and elsewhere in the south also pointed to the limits of enlightenment reforms and made the government conscious of the need for greater order and control. In Scotland, Henry Dundas’ political machine would be...

  10. PART V CONCLUSIONS

    • 18 SUMMARIES AND RESULTS
      (pp. 523-554)

      The processes of university patronage discussed above can be reduced to a scheme. When a vacancy was in the offing or had occurred, nominations and recommendations made their way to those who might aid a candidate. The men to whom the initial appeals went were generally local figures – professors, gentlemen, clerics, officials of the burghs or of the government. Names, vetted locally in Aberdeen by men like Brigadier John Middleton or Patrick Duff of Premnay, or in Glasgow by Mungo Graham of Gorthy or John Maxwell of Pollock, were then passed on to a manager in Edinburgh such as the...

  11. BIBLIOGRAPHY
    (pp. 555-590)
  12. Appendix 1: ESTIMATED VALUES OF THE CHAIRS IN THE SCOTTISH UNIVERSITIES FOR THE 1690s, 1725, 1760, 1795
    (pp. 591-614)
  13. Appendix 2: AVERAGE TOTAL INCOMES OF THE PROFESSORS FROM ALL SOURCES BY FACULTY
    (pp. 615-618)
  14. INDEX OF NAMES
    (pp. 619-632)
  15. INDEX OF SUBJECTS
    (pp. 633-644)