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your literary reputation, or to restore it when you conceive that that reputation is violated? Can this be denounced as a criminal ambition? It originated in a desire to acquit myself to the public as a mathematical teacher, with a view to justify my claims to academical preferment. Can this be branded as an unprincipled enormity? It originated in attachment to my pupils, and in a wish to conduct them to the termination of those studies which they had so successfully begun. Can this be alleged as the evidence of a hardened indifference to the feelings or considerations of morality? Few of you are perhaps acquainted with the peculiarities of my situation as assistant teacher in the mathematical classes of St. Andrews University. I felt my business to be agreeable; I rejoiced in the education of youth as the most important and delightful exercise of a man's powers; but before one-half of the session had elapsed, I felt myself surrounded with all the cares and perplexities of opposition. Unfortunate misunderstandings arose, which it is neither for you to hear nor for me at present to explain. I shall only say that I was deserted both by my employer and the University, and my career as the mathematical assistant was at last closed by the ignominy of a dismissal from my employment. I was now disposed of. I was consigned to the obscurity of the country. I was compelled to retire in disgrace, and leave the field to my exulting enemies. They had gained their object-a name expunged from the list of competition-no further disturbance from interlopers no literary upstart to emulate their delicious repose, or to outstrip them in public esteem-no ambitious intruder to dispel our golden dreams of preferment, or to riot along with us in the rich harvest of benefices. I have few friends-no patronage to help me forward in the career of an honourable ambition. All that I had to trust in was my academic reputation and the confidence. of an enlightened public. But where is the enlightened public
to which a slandered mathematician may appeal? There is no more such an enlightened public in St. Andrews than there is in the interior of Africa. But I had one consolation; I was supported by the respectful attachment of my students. But even to their progress, my appeal was far from being effectual. I had only taught them one session; I had only initiated them into the elements of the science. I was proud enough to think that I had succeeded in inspiring a taste and an ardour for mathematical learning. I was proud enough to think that if they persevered as they had begun, they would be to me the most honourable of all testimonies. At the end of last winter, I had no formed mathematicians to whom I could appeal, as the argument of a successful or conscientious teacher. The credit of
my more advanced students was divided between me and my predecessor; the credit of the students whom I initiated, between me and him who had succeeded me. What could I do? Was I to leave my reputation to the candour of the University, or to the testimony of him who had disgraced me? I confess I felt no such confidence. I foresaw an end to all my hopes of literary distinction. I had nothing to expect from the spirit of a grasping monopoly. I must either have resigned myself to the silence of despair, or attempted the testimony of an independent public.*
"I am not able to guess at the precise object of the gentleman in the public appearance he has just made. Does he mean that I should desert my classes, and renounce the interests of those whose friendship has consoled my feelings in the hour of perplexity? Does he mean that I should surrender those few who remained with me in my worst days, and rallied to support me amid the storms of persecuting violence? I will say it, in my cause they have evinced a spirit of the most exalted virtue. * For some intervening paragraphs in this defence, see Appendix E.
They have withstood the allurements of interest. They have defied the threats of persecution. They have spurned at the cold and withering suggestions of prudence. They have sacraficed all at the shrine of friendship; and though surrounded with the most corrupting atmosphere to which the manly and independent virtues were exposed, they have maintained the purity of an untainted honour, and the fidelity of an inviolable attachment. And are these the men whom the gentleman would force me to desert? Is this the painful humiliation he would impose upon me? Shall I leave them to the ridicule and triumph of those whom their attachment to me has rendered their enemies? He talks of the religious interests of my parish. I know nothing from which religion has suffered so severely as from the disgrace of its teachers. Compel me to retire from my classes, and you give a blow to the religious interests of my parish which all the punctualities of discipline will never restore. You render me the laughing-stock of the country; you cover me with infamy; you render me the object of public contempt and public execration. Compel me to retire, and I shall be fallen indeed. I would feel myself blighted in the eyes of all my acquaintances. I would never more lift up my face in society. I would bury myself in the oblivion of shame and solitude. I would hide me from the world. I would be overpowered by the feeling of my own disgrace. The torments of self-reflection would pursue me; they would haunt my dreams; they would lay me on a bed of torture; they would condemn me to a life of restless and never-ceasing anxiety. Death would be to me the most welcome of all messengers. It would cut short the remainder of my ignominious days. It would lay me in the grave's peaceful retreat. It would withdraw me from the agitations of a life that has been persecuted by the injustice of enemies, and still more distracted by the treachery of violated friendship."
The subject was not brought before the Presbytery so soon as he had expected. On the evening of the day on which this speech was delivered, the following hurried note was despatched to Dr. Brown at St. Andrews :—
"CUPAR, May 8, 1804.
"MY DEAR SIR,-You will be surprised to hear that the long threatened discussion was at last introduced into the Presbytery this day. It met with the fate it deserved-was quashed and reprobated. The discussions were all in public. A numerous audience attended, and our argumentation lasted two hours. -Yours, with much esteem, THOMAS CHALMERS."
CHEMICAL LECTURES REPEATED AT ST. ANDREWS-PRESBYTERIAL INTERFERENCE - CANDIDATE FOR THE NATURAL PHILOSOPHY CHAIR AT ST. ANDREWS, AND FOR THE MATHEMATICAL CHAIR AT EDINBURGH-FIRST PUBLICATION-CHEMICAL LECTURES AT KILMANY AND CUPAR-DOUBLE COMMISSION IN THE VOLUNTEERSINCIDENT AT KIRKALDY-HIS FATHER'S CHARACTER-HIS BROTHER GEORGE'S DEATH.
HIS chemical lectures had been so highly relished, that Mr. Chalmers readily consented to repeat them during the next winter session at St. Andrews. A summer's interval of leisure would enable him to render them more complete and more attractive. Their delivery would not call him away from Kilmany for more than two or three days in each week; and as he had relinquished the intention of re-opening mathematical classes, it was his hope that no further Presbyterial interference would be attempted. But he was disappointed.
At a meeting of the Presbytery of Cupar, held on the 4th September 1804, "Dr. Martin begged the Presbytery to insert in their minutes that, in his opinion, Mr. Chalmers giving lectures in chemistry is improper, and ought to be discontinued. To this request the Presbytery acceded. On which Mr. Chalmers begged it to be inserted in the minutes, that after the punctual discharge of his professional duties, his time was his own; and he conceived that no man or no court had a right to control him in the distribution of it."* It was only in the morning
* Extracted from the Minutes of Presbytery.