Answers in the David Woodburn case

Author(s): Dalrymple, Sir David; Inglis, Charles


Answers by the University of Glasgow To the
Bill of Suspension for David Woodburn
The University of Glasgow like all other Universities is vested
with a jurisdiction over the Students committed to its care, and
from time immemorial has been in the practice of exercising
that jurisdiction by imposing fines, censures, or expulsion
according as the offence required.
In March last a complaint against David Woodburn a
Burser was made to the University Meeting they thought it a
duty incumbent upon them to make a strict examination into
some particulars in this Gentlemans conduct which had been
the source of much disturbance in the Society and after taking
all the pains in their power to arrive at the truth by examining
at great length every person who knew any thing of the matter
being fully satisfied that this young man had demeaned himself
in a manner unbecoming a Student and unwothy of that
publick encouragement by which he was supported They did
upon the 6th. of May 1769 Expell him
from the University and deprived him of his Burse. Which
last was indeed a neceſsary consequence of his expulsion.
Mr. Woodburn having applied to your Lordships for a review
of this judgeent by Bill of suspension and answers having
been appointed to be given in, what follows is humbly offered in
support of the proceedings of the University Meeting.
Before entering upon the merits of the expulsion the Respondents
will take the liberty of submitting whether a suspension
is here competent and whether this be a matter which is
at all cognizable by your Lordships.
That the Respondents as heads of this University are entitled
to exercise discipline over the students committed to their care
and when there appears just ground to expell him out of the
University the consequence of which with regard to a Burser
is the forfeiture of his right seems not to be disputed. Besides
the practice of other Universities and the neceſsity of the thing
(as without some such authority lodged in the Masters of a College
it would be hardly poſsible to inforce that obedience which is due

from Students to their teachers and without which no plan of
Education can be properly carried on) the Masters of the
College of Glasgow have this privilege conferred upon them
by an expreſs clause in a Charter from James the 6th, called the
Nova Erectio which is the ground work of their constitution.
When treating of the Bursers that were to be admitted
into the College the Charter goes on thus. "Hos autem pauperes
nostros humilitatis et obedientiæ examplar eſse volumnus
et per omnia præceptoribus morem gerere quod nisi fecerint
potestatem facimus dicto Gymnasiarchæ et præceptoribus eos
puniendi et pro ratione delicti usque at eorundem ejectonem
edicto Collegio inclusive si propter eorum contumaciam
id promeriti foerint
In this clause no mention whatever is made of an appeal
to any superior Court and the nature of the thing seems not to admit
of any such appeal. What is here bestowed on the Masters
of the University is not properly a right of Jurisdiction constituting
them a court of Law and subjecting their proceedings in
the exercise of that jurisdiction to be cognosced or reviewed by
superior courts in the ordinary course of law. It is merely a
discretionary power delegated to them and to them only by
the constitution of the College and which it is presumed they
will exercise honestly and conscientiously without the neceſsity
of any superior controul.
The authority bestowed upon the Preceptors of a College
over their students is in this respect precisely similar to that
which a father enjoys over his children in their nonage, or
that which in some countries a husband is understood to have
over his wife. The limits of a fathers authority or jurisdiction
are acurately defined by law and can in no case exceed the
bounds of a modica castigatio but within these limits the
exercise of his jurisdiction is absolutely final and no Court
whatever can interpose or say whether he has done right or wrong.
So in the present case the authority of the Respndents is confined
within precise limits and can never go beyond expulsion,
but so long as they keep within these bounds which it will
not be pretended that they have exceeded here, they humbly plead
that their proceedings are not liable to review.

Indeed it must be apparent to every one that the admitting
such a power of review could be attended with no good
consequence, the authority of Masters of a College in exerciseing
acts of discipline is confined within such narrow bounds
and there is so little temptation to exercise it improperly that
the evils arising from the abuse of it can neither be very common
nor very great. But on the other hand it is impoſsible
not to see that if boys paſsing through a course of education
instead of submitting with implicite faith to the determination
of their preceptors, were accustomed to look up to a superior
Court and to see their proceedings reviewed and altered it
would be hardly poſsible to preserve the in that entire submiſsion
and obedience which is so neceſsary at this period
of life and which has been most rigorously enforced even
in those countries where no other paſsive obedience is required
in the course of a person's whole life. Besides that the
Masters of a College in censuring or expelling a Student
may proceed upon their knowlege of his daily conduct, upon
what they themselves have seen and heard which it is hardly
poſsible to have laid before a Court of review. Indeed if
your Lordships shall be of opinion that the present application
is competent it is not easy to see where the matter
may stop. The proceedings of a Master of a Grammar school
within the sphere of his authority are not surely leſs reviewable
than those of the preceptors of a College. So that according
to this sistem a school boy who is to receive corporal
chastisement, may apply by bill of suspension and get the
execution of the sentence respited till such time as your
Lordships have examined into the nature of his offence
and determine whether there was just ground for the chastisement
or not. Neither is it of any consequence that the Judgment expelling
Mr. Woodburn is attended with a patrimonial loſs
to him. The forfeiture of his Burse is the neceſsary & unavoidable
consequence of his expulsion. If therefore the proceedings of
the University Meeting quoad the expulsion cannot be reviewed
it is impoſsible that Mr. Woodburn can be restored to
his Burse which he only holds upon the condition of his
remaining a Student at this University.

It will likewise be observed that there are other proceedings
of a University Meeting which although attended with
a consequential pecuniary interest to the parties concerned,
it is thought could not be reviewed by your Lordships. Thus
the conferring or withholding Degrees in Physick Law &.c.
is often an act of considerable consequence; yet the Respondents
have always understood that the University itself is here
the ultimate Judge, and that your Lordships could neither
ordain them to conferr degrees upon a person who had been
refused by the University and still leſs could you recall
a degree granted by the University as hving been conferred
upon an unworthy person.
But what seems to remove all difficulty with regard
to that part of the judgement which deprives Mr. Woodburn
of his Burse, is an Act of Parliament which shall afterwards
be more particularly explained and which provides that
unleſs a Burser obtain yearly from his Master a Certificate
of his good behaviour and regular attendance his right shall
be ipso facto forfeited. As it will be afterwards shewn that Mr.
Woodburn clearly falls under the description of this act it is obvious
that quoad his right to his bursary there can be no place
for a review as he had ipso facto forfeited it by the operation
of the statute.
The Respondents will only farther add upon this head
that although there have been numberleſs instances of expulsion
upon all the different grounds that can be imagined yet so far
as they know this is the first instance since the institution of the
University where application has been made to your Lordships
for reviewing a Judgement of this kind. A pretty strong proof of
its having been universally beleived and understood that in exercising
their Academical discipline over the Students they are
vested with a discretionary power such as a father has over his
own family not subject to be controuled by Courts of Law.
Neither is it from any apprehension that their conduct either
in this or in any other particular will meet with the disapprobation
of your Lordships that the Respondents have stated this preliminary
objection. Their sole motive for doing it is the prospect of the prejudice
which must arise to the University if the Masters shall be

obliged to maintain a litigation with every refractive student.
Nor is there any danger that this power will be abused as the constitution
of the University is very favourable to the liberty of the
Students, and as it is not the interest of the Profeſsors to drive students
away from their lectures.
The Respondents shall now proceed to satisfy your Lordships
that although a suspension were competent yet the Complainer
in the present case has not been able to point out any relevant
ground of suspension.
The reasons of suspension mentioned in the Bill consist
chiefly of objections to the formality of the proceedings. That
a formal Libel was not exhibited to him, that there was no
proper accuser, that his own declaration was taken, and
that inhabile witneſses were admitted to give evidence
against him.
The Complainer seems here to have taken a point for
granted and to have made it the foundation of his objections
which the Respondents will take the liberty to call in question.
They have never understood that an University Meeting exercising
discipline over students is confined to the forms of Judicial procedure
established by publick authority for regulating trials
in the ordinary courts of Law. They conceive that nothing more
is incumbent upon them when enquiring into the misdemeanors
of a student, than to conduct their enquiries according to the
rules of common sense and common justice in such a manner
as appears to them most likely to bring out the truth. And that
provided what they do is substantially right, it is of no moment
whether they proceed in this or that particular form.
In the present case the Complainer had the same opportunity
of vindicating himself as if the legal forms of a criminal
trial had been observed. He does not pretend to say that the
examination of the persons upon whose evidence the judgement
expelling him proceeded (which is the most material part in
every trial) was not taken in a very fair and candid manner.
Their examinations although not upon Oath as the University
Meeting has not been in use to eamine upon oath in cases of
this kind and perhaps are not legally authorised to administer
an oath were fully and impartially taken down in

writing. Mr. Woodburn himself after having been solemnly
informed by an extract given him from the Records of the
University Meeting of the facts which were laid to his charge
was allowed to be present and to put such questions as he
thought proper. Full liberty was given him to adduce witneſses
for his own vindication and every objection or observation
which he thought proper to make in the course of the
proceedings if he desired it was fairly taken doun in the
minutes. If the Respondents have erred in not likewise
humouring him with the form of a criminal trial they will
only say that it is an error of very long standing in this University
and coeval with its original institution. Since that
time innumerable instances have occured where Students
have been censured, fined, or expelled, yeet in not one of them
have the strict Judicial forms of a trial been observed or even
been attempted to be observed except in a very late case
where this Complainer was concerned and where the imitating
the forms of acriminal trial was considered as a
very unprecedented stretch in a University Meeting and
was generally disapproved of.
Indeed it is plain that to require an University Meeting
to observe the strict forms of Judicial procedure would be to
abolish their authority altogether. For in the 1st place the
Respondents are no Lawyers. They can enquire into the behaviour
of a Student honestly and fairly and can animadvert
upon it according to the rules of Academical discipline.
But to carry on a regular trial in all its forms, to Judge of objections
to a libel of the hability or inhability of witneſses is a
task for which they are not ashamed to acknowledge that they
are unfit. And if your Lordships shall be of opinion that the
observance of these forms is eſsentially neceſsary in order to
authorise a Judgement for censure or expulsion they can
plainly forsee that they wil be under the neceſsity of abandoning
this neceſsary part of their duty and to allow the
students to follow the freedom of their own wills without
check or controul. In the second place supposing they were
qualified to carry on a Judicial trial it is absolutely impoſsible
that it can be done during the seſsion of the College.

For by the consititution of the University the Court which
carries on the trial must consist of the Majority of the
Members and there are lectures going forward at all hours
of the day so that your Lordships will plainly see that a formal
Judicial trial is absolutely incompatible with the
great end of their insitutition viz. the education of youth,
in the Arts and Sciences.
That Mr. Woodburn has suffered nothing from the manner
in which the University meeting proceded will appear
manifest from taking a view of the several objections in
point of form which he insists upon.
1mo. He complains that no Libel was exhibited against
him either by a private Complainer or the Procurator fiscal
of the University though he says it will not be denied
that this has been always rquired to found a sentence of expulsion.
If instead of saying that a formal Libel had always been
required to found a sentence of expulsion he had said
that such a Libel never had been thought neceſsary in the
practice of the University he would have told your Lordships
what was much nearer the truth. In the whole Records
of the University there does not occur an instance of a Libel
being exhibited at the instance of a Procurator fiscal for
the University where censures, fines, or expulsion was to
be the punishment except in a single case in which this
Gentleman himself was concerned He cannot have forgot
too that this measure was loudly complained of at the time
as a sretch of violence, that it was acknowleged upon all
hands to be entirely unprecedented That the Gentlemen
who approved of it only did so in the belief that it would
add to the solemnity of the proceedings. But that instead.
of this the effect of it was to produce such intricacy and
embarraſsment as satisfied every person that a University
Meeting was very unfit for managing or Judging in a criminal
trial carried on in all its forms and hat if they are
to proceed at all they must do it by the rules of plain common
sense and discretion which the University had
hitherto found sufficient to supply the place of legal form.
From the Bill of Suspension your Lordships will perceive

that what gave rise to the proceedings brought under review
was a complaint against Mr. Woodburn exhibited to an University
Meeting upon the 22d of March last by Robert Mutter
who is not a Student as the Complainer calls him but a probationer
of consierable standing and College Chaplain.
This complaint gave rise to an enquiry from which it appeared
that several irregularities had been committed amongst
the Students and a Committee was appointed for that purpose.
The Committee accordingly proceeded to take a variety of
examinations which they reported to the University meeting
on the 20th of April and as from these examinations it appeared
that Mr. Woodburn and likewise Mr. John Robison a Lecturer
in Chymestry appointed by the University had committed
some irregularities, Upon Mr. Woodburns insisting to know
particularly what he was charged with the Meeting explained
the whole to him in a very particular manner and likewise enfered
that explanation in their minutes of which both Mr
Woodburn and Mr. Robison were allowed an Extract and a
day was appointed for their trial. The Meeting at the same
time informed them that they were to be called to account for
their misconduct, and according to the practice uniformly
observed by the University where there was reason to believe
that long examinations would be neceſsary impowered a
Committee to make further enquiry into the truth of the facts
and to hear what either of these Gentlemen had to offer in their
vindication. It is a mere quibble therefore in Mr. Woodburn
to complain that no proper Libel was ever exhibited against
him. The declaration of the University Meeting
just now mentioned which is as particular as could be
desired answered all the purposes of a Libel. Nor will Mr.
Woodburn himself pretend to deny that he was as fully apprised
of the circumstances of his conduct with which the Meeting
were diſsatisfied, and as fully prepared for adducing any
thing he had to offer in his vindication as if a charge had ben
served against him in the form of an Indictment or criminal letters.
A second ground of complaint is that Woodburns own declaration
was taken and made use of as evidence against him.
This objection the Respondents will fairly acknowlege they

are not Lawyers enough to comprehend. In plain common
sense they cannot conceive what evidence with regard to
a persons conduct or misbehaviour can be so unexceptionable
as his own declaration. Nor can they see upon what
footing Mr. Woodburn can object to this evidence except by
acknowleging that all that he told the Committee was a train
of deliberate falsehoods. The Respondents are further advised
that this objection as as little foundation in Law
as in sound reason. Even in criminal cases where the highest
punishment of the Law is concluded, for every person knows
that the first step of procedure commonly is to take the declaration
of the person accused before a Magistrate; that
the declaration thus taken is always allowed to be founded
upon as evidence in the course of the trial, and is for
the most part the piece of evidence which bears hardest
upon the pannel. But in the prsent case which is purely
a civil cause and which the Complainer has expreſsly declared
to be so by making this application to your Lordships
and not to the Criminal Court There is not even
the shaddow of a difficulty. Had the question been brought
in the first instance before your Lordships it surely will
not admit of a doubt that Mr. Woodburn would have
been compelled to confeſs or deny upon the several facts
Libelled, and if he had refused to declare what he knew,
would have been held and confeſsed.
It would probably occur to your Lordships at first view that
this objection had been suggested by the ingenuity of the Complainers
Council. This however is not the case and he himself has the sole
honour of the discovery. Having got into his head a little smattering
of Law and probably heard that parties were not obliged
to emitt a declaration unleſs they had a ind, he thought it
would be an easy matter for him to puzzle an University Meeting
composed of persons who were no great proficients in that Science.
When he was called therefore before the Committee to give an
accunt of his conduct he at first refused to give them the least
satisfaction or to say one word about the matter, afterwards being
sensible that this obstinate refusal would be regarded as a pretty
strong proof of the misbehaviour laid to his charge he at length

agreed to appear before the Committee and to answer such questions
as were put to him. Indeed through the whole of the proceedings
the Respondents will be pardoned to say that his conduct
resembled more the arts of an inferior practitioner in the Law
catching at every advantage than the open and ingenuous deportment
of a young man appearing to Justify himself before
those to whom he owed duty and respect and who had unquestionable
Authority to call him to account.
It is objected in the third place that some of the witneſses
examined were liable to legal exceptions particularly Mr.
Robison who was concerned in the squabble with Woodburn
and consequently had a strong interest to vindicate himself; and
Mr. John Hay who is objected to as being pupil to Mr. Mutter
the person who first complained of Woodburn to the University.
Neither of these objections have the smallest relevancy.
Had Mr. Woodburn been standing trial for his life the testimony
both of Mr. Robison and Mr. Hay would have been received
as good evidence against him. With what reason
therefore can the Respondents be complained of for taking the
examinations of these two Gentlemen which were neceſsary
in order to enable them to form a judgement upon Mr. Woodburn's
conduct and then giving them such weight as they
seemed to merit.
It only remains therefore to enquire whether the sentence
or the University Meeting was well founded and whether there
were sufficient grounds fr expelling Mr. Woodburn or not.
Three particulars are mentioned in the judgement itself
upon each of which the Respondents shall bestow a few words.
The first thing mentioned is Mr. Woodburn's behaviour at
the Meeting of Students on St. Patrick's day. It is not neceſsary
here to enter upon all the circumstances which appear in the
declarations of the persons present at that meeting who were
examined in the course of the proceedings. The most material
part of what happened does not seem to be denied by the Complainer
himself and even taking the fact to be as stated in the
Bill of suspension the Respondents cannot help thinking that his
behaviour will meet with the disapprobation of your Lordships.
The Respondents are sensible of the Ridicule to which a

person exposes himself by aſsuming a tone of severity unsuitable
to the manners of a diſsipated age. They will not even be
so unfashionable as to say one word against a species of conversation
which in many polite companies (as they have been
told) has in a manner banished all others. Neither will they
appeal to the authority of acts of Parliament upon this subject
as these they presume must have been long since abrogated
by a disuse almost universal. But one thing they must be permitted
to observe that this like most other circumstances of
behaviour must be judged of according to the circumstances
of the time and place and that what in one man or in one
situation will only be laughed at as an inoffensive expreſsion
of gaity may in another person and under different circumstances
become very improper and very unbecoming. What
the Respondents point at is this. Mr. Woodburn was himself a
student of Theology entrusted as a Tutor with superintending
the education of a young Gentleman and at this Meeting
several of the younger students particularly Mr. Woodburn's
own Pupil were present. In this situation Mr. Woodburn
ought to have called to mind the advice of the satyrist addreſsed
with such warmth to the degenerate Romans in his claſs:
Nil dictu fadum, visuque hæc limina tangat intra que
puer est - Maxima debetur puero reverentia.

At this dangerous and important period of life when the
imagination receives every impreſsion with warmth it is of
consequence that no seducing or improper ideas be presented
to it. Hence it is that in all Universities a strictneſs
of manners and a degree of decorum has been required
greater than is to be met with in the ordinary commerce of
the world. The Respondents for their part have considered this
to be an object of as great consquence to the Youth entrusted
to their care as the informing their minds with a stock of useful
Literature and their conduct has hitherto met with the
approbation of parents and others interested in the wellfare
of the young Students. one thing at least they can say with truth
that this tone of austerity is not a thing lately aſsumed nor levelled
solely against Mr. Woodburn. Within these two years a
student was expelled for what in a man of the world would have

been considered as an innocent piece of gallantry.
The Complainer and his friends would always have
it considered as if he had been expelled solely upon account
of what happened at this meeting upon St. Patrick's day. But
this although first mentioned in the sentence the Respondents
will own is the least censurable part of his conduct. The expulsion
proceeded upon other grounds which will not so
easily admit of an excuse.
The next thing taken notice of is an advertisement composed
and published by Mr. Woodburn the purpose of which
was to convey a most infamous aspersion against Mr. Robison
the Gentleman who had admonished Mr. Woodburn of the
indecency of his toast.
It appears that a few days after the Meeting on St. Patrick's
day the Complainer having composed a ludicrous advertisement
levelled against Mr. Robison gave a copy of it to Mr.
Hay a young Gentleman attending at the University plainly
in the view that it might be circulated amongst the students.
Not even satisfied with this it is acknowleged that next day
he caused write over another copy of this advertisement
containing some amendments and prevailed upon Mr. Hay
to convey it clandetinely in a letter to Mr. Robison. That Mr.
Robison upon receiving this advertisement as he could have
no doubt of its owner was naturally seized with a most violent
indignation and having met with Mr. Woodburn in
the College Area a squabble ensued which came the length
of blows and was productive of much disturbance in the University.
The Complainer in his bill of suspension has given
your Lordships a copy of the first draught of the advertisement
which was given to Mr. Hay and has been at pains to
explain away the meaning of some expreſsions in it. But he
has avoided taking any notice of the corrected copy of the
advertisement which was inclosed in the letter to Mr. Robison.
Upon receiving it Mr. Robison in the first transport of his indignation
threw the paper into the fire by which means some parts
of it are now not legible But upon second thoughts he immediately
took it back in order to confront Mr. Woodburn
with the evidence of his clandestine malice. It fell from his

hands in the scuffle betwixt him and Woodburn but was
immediately taken up and produced before the University
Meeting. What remains of it is exactly as follows
Be it nown to all honest men & bonny laſses that the d scarlet
when it is given as a sentiment
Company of College Gentlemen) no long
d beginning with a C & ending with a T as
neither does it mean the whore of Babylon
Maidenhead, neither does it signify
White & paſsionately black without
nce to red; but henceforth and forever
xcomb and every man however sober may
the future with a clear conscience even a
ty of henpecking his superior tutor
e a man of Italic paſsions xxx
Beware of the man says the
hearted Malbranche who blackens o'er his cups and grows
pale in his ſsions, is the moral of this advertisement.
The Respondents will not offer any comment on th eexpreſsions
of unnatural feelings in thie first draught of the advertisement
or of Italic paſsions as it is expreſsed in the second. There
cannot be the samllest doubt that the intention of them was
to convey a most infamous reproach upon Mr. Robison a
lecturer in the University and entrusted as tutor with superintending
the Education of a young Gentleman. Mr. Woodburn
has indeed refused to acknolege that the paper produced to
the University Meeting and above recited was the identical
copy of the advertisement which he inclosed in a letter to Mr.
Robison. Of this however there is undoubted evidence upon the
face of the examination. The Respondents shall only mention one
circumstance which seems to be decisive. Mr. Woodburn in his
declaration before the Committee of the 26th. of April when talking
of the paper sent to Mr. Robison says "that he desired the
"transcriber to write Cockscomb not with an x because he took
"it, to mean the comb that grows upon a cock's head that is red
"and resembles scarlet" Your Lordships will accordingly perceive
this very word "Cockscomb" which is interlined in the

advertisement. And as that advertisement was produced to the
Committee on the 24th of April as it now stands it is impoſsible
that this very extraordinary word could have been inserted
in order to make it tally with Mr. Woodburns declaration
which was not emitted till some days after. The manner also
which Mr. Woodburn takes in the course of the proceedings to
parry a direct acknowlegement of the identity of the advertisement
is not calculated to give a very high character of his
candor or ingenuousneſs and what is still worse it appears
from the declaration of Mr. Hay the Gentleman who was seduced
to convey the letter, that Mr. Woodburn afterwards endeavoured
to prevail upon him to be guilty of so base an action
as to deny what he had done.
A calumnly of so groſs a kind and propagated under such
circumstances the Respondents cannot help thinking was an offence
which of itself sufficiently Justified the expulsion of its author
And what seems to put the matter beyond all doubt is a sistem of laws
and regulations for the government of the University which are
in strict observance and which are annually read over to the students
to put them upon their guard The 10th. & 13th. articles of these
reulations are as follows. Qui alterius nomen famoso libello
violaverit ignominiosus yose ex Academia ejicitor. Qui contendendi
ansam factis nul verbis contumeliosis volens suppeditaverit
ex Academia ejicitor. Upon each of these laws separately
either as having propagated a malicious calumny
against Mr. Robison or as having given occasion to a riot within
the College there can be no doubt that the University Meeting
were sufficiently warranted to expell Mr. Woodburn.
The last thing taken notice of by the Meeting is the Complainers
non attendance upon the prelections of Mr. Reid his Master.
In this part of their sentence the University Meeting did no
more than follow out the direction of an expreſs statute. By an
Act past in the 13th year of his late Majesty entitled an Act for regulating
and improving certain benefactiosn vested in the Rector
Principal, Profeſsors and Masters of the University and College of
Glasgow it is inter alia enacted "That every Student or Bursar, to be
"presented by the said Barons, in pursuance of this present act, shall
"before his admiſsion to any of the said studies give Bond & sufficient

"caution to the said Rector Principal Profeſsors and Masters of the
"said University and College of Glasgow, and their succeſsors in office
"thereby obliging himself to prosecute the said several studies to which
"he shall be so presented or entitled for and during the respective
"times aforesaid, within the said University; and to obtain yearly
"from his respective Profeſsors, certificates of his good behaviour
"and diligence in attending his leſsons, and of his progreſs in the
"said respective studies; which Bond the said Rector Principal
"Profeſsors and Masters shall cause to be Registrate in some com"petent
Register and transmit an Extract thereof to the said Barons.
"And it is hereby further enacted and Declared by the au"thority
aforesaid That every Student or Bursar, so to be presented
"to the said Barons, who shall fail in performance of any point or
"article of his said Bond or obligation, or controvert the same
"shall thereby, ipso facto, forfeit and lose all right and benefit of such
"presentation, and also be obliged to pay back and refund to the Rector
"Principal Profeſsors and Masters of the said University & College
"of Glasgow, the whole sums of money which shall have been paid to
"him or advanced on his accout in consequence thereof"
The Complainer who is a Bursar upon the ofundation regulated
by this act at his entry gave bond to the College with two
cautioners. "That the said David Woodburn shall faithfully
"and aſsidiously prosecute my studies in the said University of
"Glasgow for the space of six years from and after Martinmaſs one
"thousand seven hundred and sixty seven years, and for the firt
"year I shall prosecute the study of Logic for the second the study
"of Moral Philosophy and for the third year the study of Natural
"Philosophy and for the three last years the study of Theology
"within the said University; and to obtain yearly from any re"spective
Profeſsors certificates of my good behaviour and dili"gence
in attending my leſsons, as also of my progreſs in the said
"respentive studies. And in case I the said David Woodburn shal
"faill in any point or article of the said Obligation or contraveen
"the same I shall thereby ipso facto forfeit and lose all right & benefit
"of the said Presentation and also be obliged as I and my said Caution"ers
hereby Bind and oblige us jointly and severally and our fore"saids
to pay back and refund to the Rector" &c.
Notwithstanding this poſsitive obligation it appeared upon
examination That the Complainer was extremely remiſs in his
attendance. Doctor Reid the Profeſsor under whom he studied
being asked by the University Meeting on the 4th. of May whether
in terms of the Act of Parliament he could Certify the Complainers
good behaviour and diligence in attending his leſsons Declared
"That he cannot certify Mr. Woodburns diligence in attending
"his leſsons because he has been for the most part during this Seſsion
"absent at Eleven o clock and because for some weeks past he has
"not been in the Claſs at all."
This declaration it is apprehended might alone have
superceded the neceſsity of any further enquiry, both by the clause
of the Act of Parliament above recited and by his expreſs obligation
to the University Mr. Woodburn was bound to obtain yearly from his
respective Profeſsors certificates of his good behaviour & diligence
in attending his leſsons; and as t this time it was an undoubted
point that he neither had obtained nor would obtain any such certificate
the consequence seems unavoidable that in terms of the statute
he had ipso facto forfeited and lost all right and benefit to his
Presentation, All that the Meeting did here was to apply the statute
and to find that by its operation he had forfeited his Burse by failing
to perform what the statute had printed out as one of the
eſsential conditions of his enjoying it
The Complainer has been at great pains throughout to represent the
proceedings against him as merely the offspring of picque & animosity.
And as a proof of it he has verred that Mr. Robison meant to affront
him publickly. That he Woodburn was absent from his Claſs through
indisposition; and that several other persons particularly Mr.
Robison apeared to have been guilty of as much impropriety as him
yet no sort of notice was taken of their conduct.
Now it is strange that such aſsertions should be made to your
Lordships when it is proved in the proceedings that what Mr.
Robison said was heard by Woodburn alone, when Mr. Woodburn
knows & every Profeſsor & servant about the College knows that he was
not ill at the time alledged and when every body about the College
knows that Mr. Robison was rebuked admonished & fined two guineas.
And that some of the other persons present on St. Patrick's day were
punished by small fines or otherwise according to their several demerits
In Respect Whereof &c


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The Corpus of Modern Scottish Writing. 2019. Glasgow: University of Glasgow.


Answers in the David Woodburn case

Document Information

Document ID 598
Title Answers in the David Woodburn case
Year group 1750-1800
Genre Administrative prose
Year of publication 1769
Place of publication Glasgow, Scotland
Wordcount 6137

Author information: Dalrymple, Sir David

Author ID 203
Title Sir
Forenames David
Surname Dalrymple
AKA Lord Hailes
Gender Male
Year of birth 1726
Place of birth Edinburgh, Scotland
Occupation Judge, historian
Father's occupation Nobleman
Education University
Locations where resident Edinburgh
Other languages spoken Latin

Author information: Inglis, Charles

Author ID 179
Forenames Charles
Surname Inglis
Gender Male
Occupation Clerk of Bills