Document Concerning the Controversy Between Faculty and Regius Professors

Author(s): Couper, John


Glasgw 133 Moor Place
Nov 13th 1840

Dear sir,

Your ſon Mr Lewis Gordon has
just informed me that you write him saying
you doubt the expediency of his announcing
at present his intention to the heads of the
Faculty of Senate. In asking him to consult
you on that point my only wish was to prevent
the poſsibility of his claims, if urged in a
court, being met by a plea of acquiescence.
If you think that this is affected by the few
words which he introduced into his inaugural
discourse, & which attracted no
notice when read, I quite agree with you
that no more should be done at present,
as the leſs irritation is occasioned the better
especially by a person situated as your ſon
is. I may mention however for your consideration
that meetings of the Faculty
take place very often. To these meetings
your ſon, like the other Regius Profeſsors,
will not be summoned. He could not
plead ignorance of their occurrence, because
even his application for a claſsroom
will be considered & decided at one

of them, and the answer to his application
will be in the shape of a formal extract
from the minutes of Faculty. Will
his silence under these circumstances not
constitute acquienscence in his exclusion
from the Faculty, to a set in which we
hold that he has a right? Again, a
Faculty profeſsor is always inducted in the
Faculty, a Regius Profeſsor in the Senate.
Your ſon was inducted in the Senate without
objection on his part. How will this
operate? You know much better than I
can what insight to give to all this, but I
thought it best to state it to you.
In your letter to your ſon you ask if I
can furnish any further information within
as to the question of [¿], or as to the
inconveniences arising from the division of
the profeſsors into two claſses. In reply
I send you, 1m the Printed Evidence taken
before the [first] Royal Commiſsion. See
especially a memorial from the then Regius
Profeſsors explaining their grievances.
2d An anonymous pamphlet containing
many facts substantiated by quotations from

the evidence. 3d a memorial which I laid
before the last Commiſsion. In it is especially
the history of the additions made to the
salaries of the Faculty profeſsors by themselves,
the management of their houses,
the distribution of the [medical] graduation
fees, & above all the history of the lawsuit
with the Faculty of Physicians & Surgeons.
In detail all the evil consequences of the distinction
would be endleſs. They are of
daily and hourly occurrence. I may mention
one, as an example, in addition to
those in the above documents.
By the will of the late Dr Hunter the Profeſsors
of Glasgow College are appointed the
sole trustees of the Hunterian Museum.
The Faculty Profeſsors, aſsuming this to
mean themselves alone, have usurped
the entire control of the Museum, to the
exclusion of the Profeſsors of Chemistry, Surgery,
Botany, Natural History, Widwifery,
& Materia Medica, the very persons best
qualified, beyond all doubt, to manage
the Museum. I suppose that such could
be the intention of Hunter is to insult
his memory. As to the effect of this arrange¬

ment, take the following which [¿] to
Dr Thos Thomson Regius Profeſsor of Chemistry. A
scientific friend from Paris (the celebrated
[¿] if I recollect right) [¿] to be
in Glasgow, requested Dr Thomson to
take him to the Hunterian Museum.
In complying with this request, as a small
section for [¿] he had been
admitted to the munificent collections
of Paris, he was presented by the
[¿] keeper at the door of the Museum
with an open letter to the following
No Regius Profeſsor or lecturer is
is permitted to introduce any stranger
into the Hunterian Museum
(Signed) Robert Davidson.
Such a proceeding needs no commment.
It may safely be aſserted that there was
not another Museum in Europe where
doors would not have been thrown open
to the two individuals who were thus
forced to withdraw without seeing
the collection. Again, will the

beginning of the present seſsion the
trustees of the Hunterian Museum have
ordered that the anatomical [¿]
[¿] shall not in future be taken out
of the Museum, as hitherto, by the Profeſsors
to be shewn in their claſs in illustration
of their lecturers. The only medical profeſsors,
be it recollected, who are trustees of the
Museum are the Profeſsor of Anatomy
who is about 80 years of age, & who, by
the bye, disapproves of the resolution of
the trustees, and the profeſsor of Practice
of Physic, who lives in Italy & does his
duties at Glasgow by proxy. It would be
difficult to invent a more striking illustration
of the injurious effects of
the existing constitution of the Museum
Trust. I must conclude this too
long letter by saying that if you happen
to be intimate with Principal Lee
he could give much valuable information
about the abuses of Glasgow
University and their causes.
I remain very truly yours

John Couper


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Document Concerning the Controversy Between Faculty and Regius Professors

Document Information

Document ID 525
Title Document Concerning the Controversy Between Faculty and Regius Professors
Year group 1800-1850
Genre Administrative prose
Year of publication 1840
Place of publication Glasgow, Scotland
Wordcount 837

Author information: Couper, John

Author ID 148
Forenames John
Surname Couper
Gender Male
Year of birth 1794
Occupation Academic
Education University
Locations where resident Glasgow