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Scottish Thought and Letters in the Eighteenth Century

Introduction - History and Antiquities - Geography - Travels - Encyclopaedias - Libraries - Society and Clubs - Law - Philosophy and Religion- Economy and Social History - Adam Smith - Education Architecture - Science and Medicine- Literature


THOM, William. The defects of an university education,and its unsuitableness to a commercial people: with the expediency and necessity of erecting at Glasgow, an Academy, for the instruction of youth.
[London : 1762]

William Thom, Minister of Govan, was a virulent critic of Glasgow University. This ironic pamphlet expressed the feeling that the education given in the University did not keep pace with the needs of the times - 'we reckon Logic and Metaphysics ... are to the greatest Part of Students quite unintelligible; and if they could be understood, we cannot for our Life discover their Use.' It was this feeling which caused John Anderson, Professor of Natural Philosophy at Glasgow University, to plan his own University in the city, which would in particular provide a scientific education for skilled artisans.

CHAPMAN, George. A treatise on education.
[Edinburgh : 1773]

The author taught at the Grammar School in Dumfries. On the education of women he has this to say: 'In forming their minds, particular care should be taken to point out to them those qualities which are most ornamental to their sex, such as cleanliness, neatness of dress, modesty, sweetness of temper, industry, sobriety, frugality... They should also be carefully instructed ... in all the branches of domestic economy ...' On the question of teachers' salaries he comes nearer to present day thinking, urging that they, should be raised, for the teacher ' if he is either depressed- in his mind, or diverted from his business, by the cares which are inseparable from indigence, will neither be happy in himself, nor useful to his pupils.'