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PROFESSOR GILRAY'S TESTIMONIALS., Issue 8016, 19 September 1889
PROFESSOR GILRAY'S TESTIMONIALS.
We make the following extracts from the testimonials submitted by Professor Thomas Gilray, M.A., F.R.8.E., in applying for the vacancy for the Chair of English Language and Literature in the University of Otago: Athenteum Club, Pall Mall, S.W., London, May 25,1882. Mr Tliom.is Gilray was student in my class of Rhetoric and English Literature in the University of i dinbursh during the session of 1874-73. Ho distingui-hed hinnelf greatly in the class, obtaining ihe firnt prize and medal for merit in Knslibh Essay-writing, besides one of the prizts for Hiirc si in tin- examinations. his -ub (qu> nt distinctions I maynoto hi* carried off, in 1576. after lie had t;ikenhi« M.A. degren, the pr.'Z; 1 offered by the V *rl of Derby, then Lord Kector of the university, for the b«st English essay on a prescribed historical subject. The ptize was open to all students of the university, and to all former students who had not left the university more than two years ; and the subject was "The Foreign Policy of the Pitt Administration of 1757-61.' Mr Gilray's essay on this difficult subject was moßt elaborate and interesting, and gave proof not only of strong general ability and trained faculty in English writing, but also of special powers of historical research. Rarely, I think, has .a prize essay won such opinions from the examiners. Part of it, I believe, was written abroad, Mr Gilray having gone to reside for some time in Germany, for additional study, after talcing his decree. Net long after his return I had the good fortune to obtain his services in the capacity of my class assistant. He acted in that capacity for the throe sessions of 1877-78,1878-79, and 1879-80; and I can testify that nothing could have been more exemplary, nothing more satisfactory, than his discharge of the duties. _ln the laborious task of reading examination papers and essays, appraising their values numerically, noting faults, and tabulatI ing and reporting result?, his painstaking conscientiousness, his sound judgment, his literary knowledge and taste, and his business-like punctuality were equally admirable. It was with the utmost regret that I lost the benefit of such services as his in the conduct of my class by his appointment to the Engliih headmastorship in the Glasgow Aoademy. He had been much engaged in teaching and school work before; and, from all I know of his methods and occupation in that head-mastership, I believe his tenure of it has been exactly the preparation required for such higher Englieh teaching as would belong to the Dundee professorship for which he is now a candidate. All in all, he seems to me to possess in a very eminent degree the qualifications mainly to bo desired in such a real love of literature, extensive and solid knowledge of the history of English literature and of the English language, and a firm acquired expertness in the academic methods of imparting such knowledge, directing pupils in their higher English readings, instructing them fully in what they read, and drilling them all the while to soundness and accuracy in the art of English expression. It ought to be an additional recommendation that Mr Gilray has himself of late taken very acceptable part in the literature of our day by contributions, mainly of a biographical kind, to the 'Encyclopedia Britannica.' They represent, however, but a portion of that knowledge of English history and English literiry biography which he would have at command at once for college lectnrep, DAym Mahson, Professor of Eoglish at Edinburgh University.
Edinburgh, May 0.1880. During the seven years that have elapsed since the date of the above, Mr Gilray has held the d stinguished appointment for which he was then a candidate. For these seven ytars he has been Professor of Kngliah Language and Literature and Modern History in Univornity College, Dundee, throwing all his energies, abilities, and accomplishments into the duties of the office, and thus aiding in a specially compicuous manner in the prosperous beginnings and steadily rising fortunes of psrhaps the most important of the recent collegiate foundations of Scotland. As he is now willing, or desirous, to transfer himself to Now Zealand, if he should be honored with a call to tho vacant English Oiiair iu the University of Otago, I cannot conceive anything more entitled to weigh in his favor with those on whom the call depends than the singularly decisive completion of his previously certified qualifications by his successful tenure for seven years of the Dundee professorship. His experience in lecturing and in all details of the conduct of college classes is now ample ; ho has added largely to his stores of material in the subjects he professes ; and if the electors for Otago University desire to form an ejact idea for themselves of the range of his Knglish teaching in particular, and of his system and methods jn Bnglith teaching, they have only to look at those p rtjons of any repent calendar of the Dundee University College which concerns hi English courses and classes. Whether for the linguistic part of the dutleo of a University professorship of English, or for the necessary familiarity with the history of English literature and power to interest pupils in what is best and most routing in that history, or for competence to impart oorrecs principles of literary taste, and to drill to of acpuraoy in English composition, here, it seems to mp, is the very man to suit the now vacant chair in Dunedin. If Professor Gilray should, as he desires, be transferred to the Univeisity of Otago, he will, I believe, b» an acquisition of maik to that University and to the colony. Davij» Mabso-v.
University, St. Andrews, N.B. April 25, 1889.
As a member of the Council of University College, I have had opportunities cf hearing how Professor Gilray discharged his duties; and there is but one opinion as to the laborious nonsoientiouMiess witb which he has continued to pursue bis Btndies and expound them to his students. He has gone with the utmost enthusiasm and minuteness of research into these portions of English literature and history on which he has chosen to lecture, and has pioduccd lectures characterised by profound learning, keen appreciation of the beauties of the writings discussed, and a remarkable power of clear exposition. He has had a difficult v/ork in University Collese, because the lectures in that college do not yet qualify for degrees; but he has struggled on with unabated enthusiasm for bis subject. Professor Gilray is a man of high character and earnest conviction, and is animated by a Btrong sense of duty. Jamks Donaldson, Principal and Vice-chancellor.
University College, Dundee, April 22, 1887. My friend and colleague Profes-sor Gijray informs mo that ho is offering himself as a candidate for the Chair of English Language and Literature in tho University of Otago; and, though his departure would involve us in dimcultios here, I oannot rofuse to comply with his request that I should say something in support of his application! At the foundation of this college, now moro than six years ago, Mr Gilray was appointed to the Chair of English language and Litera'ta;i'6 tad Modern History, on the strength and tesjUWQflials of tho very highest order of excellence, "Nfii loaij after his election he was called on to doliyer fc short courses of four popular lectures, and his treatment of his subject—'English Essayists': Addison, Johnson, Lamb, and Carlyle-gavo the large audiences which gathered to hear him a foretaste of the high qualities which have sinco distinguished all Ms work. That work has been of a very varied chancier. Its central feature has been tho careful and sfchojarly training which Mr Gilray has given his students jn o#r "rcat English classics, with which he has an acquaiijtancp based no? pnly on high literary apprepi'ation, hut also on solid linguistic research. In addition, be bao bepn >n the habit of holding a special elass on the 'History of tho English Language,' as well as a class for 'students of Anglo-Saxon. Those lattor classes have been largely attended by teachers, who arc veiy competont judgos of such work j and I have reason to know how highly Profeßßor Gilray's services are appreciated by them. Mr Gilray has also delivered open courses of lectures on oubjeots as the 'Revival of Learning,' tho 'trench Revolution,' the 'Constitutional History of England.' ejc. Thcso have been numerously attended 5 and they embody, like everything eke Mr Gilray takes in band, the fiuit of much study, and painstaking and conscientious research.
Though he has Buffered somewhat from the disadvantage of being outside tho curriculum of graduation, his habUs of work must have given a solid and independent value to tho various courses he has prepared from year to year. The nature of his professorial work with us has involved ft considerable demand on his time and energies 5 and I understand that he has been led'to .tindetttvkc present candidature i(api?t from private considerations) bv tho wish to devpte iußjself wore e.ntirejy to uis favorite studies. lam confident thai ho would carry to Dunedin the saow .cpßHcJen'tious t'horo'ughriea'i that uas ty greatly djsting,uisfte£ jll his worg here.
With his studeuisbp has tfre greatest sympathy; and to his colleagues he has always been thoroughly loyal. He has devoted himself up?rudgingly, and in the most unselfish spirit, to he discharge of his pro f esforial duties; and the iim«Jra°HS verdict of all who know him will be that, swuefcle? regard be had to scholarship, knowledge of or teaching experience, he has amply proved hjs capacity to
promote the interests of the department with which he wishes to be entrusted, W. Phtebson, Principal.
University of Aberdeen, Apii124,1889.
Previous to my removal to Aberdeen at the end of last year Professor Gilray had been very intimately known to me as my colleague for six years in the professorial staff of University College, Dundee. I have therefore had an exceptionally good opportunity of forming an opinion of his character as a man and as the occupant of an important chair in the Collego at Dundee. In addition to this, however, I have not only heard him give a course of popular lectures on the subject perta'ning to his chair, but have likewise had special nn aDS of learning of his ordinary class woik. From all this I have formed a very high opinion of Professor Gilray as a thoroughly conscienti'.u-t and hardworking teach'r, with a true love i«~ his work, and an earnest desire for the pr.-.gress of his student?. This opinion Las been formed not only from my own observation, but from what I have been frequently told by some of his students. The lectures I have myself heard him deliver were very clear, interesting, and scholarly. His bridiant career as a student at the university, combined with the extensive experience he has since had in Edinburgh, in Glasgow, and in Dundee, has been such as few can show; while his contributions to literature prove that he is not only a teacher but a scholar.
Professor Gilray is a man for whom I have always had a great regard; and ho has my earnest wishes for the success of his application, should he think it to be for his own welfare to leave Dundee for New Zealand. If successful, I am sure that he will carry with him the sincere good wishes of many friends, including his students and his colleagues. Thos. Cabnelley, Professor of Chemistry.
PROFESSOR GILRAY'S TESTIMONIALS., Issue 8016, 19 September 1889
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