Pagina-afbeeldingen
PDF
ePub

tence of alleging, that so sudden a display of zeal in its support was not altogether without a mixture of some other motives, which the Reverend Presbytery is not equally willing to avow.

Another unfortunate coincidence of dates on the present occasion, has given deep concern to the Senatus Academicus. The last instance in which the confession of faith was signed by a professor of this University at the time of his admission, was in the year 1758, by Dr. Monro senior, not more than four years before the election of our late principal, Dr. Robertson. As it is an acknowledged fact, that during the whole time he was in office, the laws in question ceased to be enforced, “ the desire and expectation of the Presbytery,” so formally intimated to his reverend successor, “that these laws shall be observed and obeyed by the University," cannot fail to be interpreted into an insinuation, that this inattention to established forms was owing to a blameable remissness on Dr. Robertson's part, in the discharge of his academical duties. This implied censure on his memory the Senatus Academicus humbly conceive to be altogether unmerited, inasmuch as they have always understood, that the execution of those laws was entrusted, neither to the principal nor to the University, but to the Presbytery within whose bounds the University is situate. From the terms indeed in which the letter of the Presbytery is expressed, a person unacquainted with the circumstances of the case might be led to conclude, that the requisition, after having been made by the Presbytery, had not been complied with or obeyed by certain members of the University ; but this idea the Senatus Academicus cannot for a moment suppose it was the intention of the Reverend Presbytery to convey.

In submitting these considerations to the Reverend Presbytery, the Senatus Academicus feel no small degree of satisfaction, in having had an opportunity of doing justice to the memory of a man, to whom the University owes the highest obligations; who, while he added so much to its celebrity by the splendor of his name, maintained, by the moderation, candor, and dignity of his character, an uninterrupted harmony in all the aca

demical deliberations over which he presided; and made it his study to cultivate, in the intercourse of private life, those habits of mutual cordiality and confidence between the members of the Presbytery and those of the University, which he considered as equally advantageous and honorable to both.

From the manner in which the Reverend Presbytery have been pleased to express themselves, it does not very clearly appear whether they are disposed to enforce the law with respect to future intrants only, or to apply it also to such of the present professors as have not already subscribed the formula. In this uncertainty, the Senatus Academicus take the liberty of submitting to the serious consideration of the Reverend Presbytery, how far, on the former of these suppositions, their interposition can be vindicated, either in point of equity or of expediency; and whether it may not be understood as implying an unjust suspicion, that it would be regarded as a hardship on some of the present incumbents, if that interposition were to have any retrospect.

In conformity to the foregoing views, the Senatus Academicus have only to add, that the members of the University are perfectly willing to do what the laws of the State and of the Church prescribe, and are ready to attend the Reverend Presbytery, whenever they shall be required to appear before it, for that purpose.

In the mean time, the Senatus Academicus flatter themselves, that it will not be considered as presumptuous on their part, to remind such of the younger members of the Presbytery as were formerly their own pupils, (and the senior professors have the pleasure to remark, that these form at present a very large proportion of that Reverend Body,) that the interests of religion are most effectually promoted by its happy influence on the character and temper of its ministers; and that an extraordinary profession of zeal for its external forms is never so likely to afford matter of triumph to its enemies, as when a suspicion is allowed to arise in the public mind, that it has been employed in subserviency to the interested views of individuals, or to the purposes of an Ecclesiastical Party.

The Senatus Academicus unanimously appointed an extract of this minute to be transmitted by Mr. Dalzel to the Reverend Presbytery of Edinburgh.

Extracted from the record of the University of Edinburgh, by

ANDREW DALZEL, Sec.

Addressed, 6 To the Reverend the Moderator

of the Presbytery of Edinburgh, to be communicated.

[ocr errors]

POSTSCRIPT

TO

MR. STEWART'S SHORT STATEMENT OF FACTS

RELATIVE

TO THE ELECTION OF PROFESSOR LESLIE.

1

College of Edinburgh, Dec. 28, 1805. In a pamphlet, published a few days ago, professing to contain an “Examination of my Short Statement of Facts, relative to the late election of a Mathematical Professor in the University of Edinburgh,” I observe the following passage.

“None of those ministers of Edinburgh, who have been attacked by Mr. Stewart, originally intended to make any reply to his pamphlet, because, in their own opinion, they were not entitled, without some strong necessity, to continue the discussion of a question, in which the character of an individual was involved, after it had been refused by the competent court. But circumstances that were not foreseen, have rendered this publication indispensable.—The appearance of a third edition * of Mr. Stewart's pamphlet, revised and enlarged by himself, after the question, relative to Mr. Leslie, had been put to rest by the General Assembly, and

* The third edition was published on the 12th of June.

7 of the respect which these gentlemen are now disposed to pay to this solemn decision of the Supreme Ecclesiastical Court, a judgment may be formed from the following sentence in the concluding paragraph of the same publication : “When the leaders of a party in the state have sufficient influence to determine an assemblyvote, men of the moderate interest in the church do not account it dishonorable to be found in the minority.”

In direct contradiction of the insinuation which is here conveyed, I assert, with confidence, that if there ever was an instance, in which all recollection of political animosity was lost in one common sentiment of indignation, it was on this memorable occasion. Not the slightest allusion occurred, in the whole course of the debate, to any one of those questions, on which the two great parties in the state are accustomed to differ; and it is a fact known in every corner of Scotland, that men of

« VorigeDoorgaan »