The chair of chemistry in the University of Edinburgh in the XVIIIth and XIXth centuries

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The CHAIR of CHEMISTRY m the UNIVERSITY of EDINBURGH in the XVIIIth and XIXth CENTURIES JOHN E. MACKENZIE The University, Edinburgh, Scotland A brief account of the establishment of the Medical School of the "Town's College" or University leads to a description, wually accompanied by portraits, of the oc- cu@nts of the Chair of Chemistry, which, in the early h y s , was allied with Physic or Medicine. Dr. James Crau- furd (1713-26) appears to have been a most successful fihysician, if not a great pofessor of chemistry. Next come Dr. Andrew Plummer and Dr. John Innes (1726- 55) as Joint Professors of Medicine and Chemistry. Plummer lectured on Chemical Phumacy, while Innes conjked himself to Medicine. Dr. William Cullen (1755- 66), after some years in country medical practice, lectured on Physic, Materia Medica, Botany, and Chemistry for e h e n years in Glasgow, before coming to Edinburgh. He was a great physician and trained many students who came to fame, including his successor both in Glasgow and in Edinburgh, Joseph Black (1766-95). Reference i s made to Black's work on Magnesia Alba and on latent heat and to his distinguished pupil, Benjamin Rush, first Professor of Chemistry i n America. Thmnas Charles Hope (1795-1844), whose discovery of struntia is notable, was a most distinguished lecturer. William Gregory (18&58), Lyon Plnyfair (1858-69), and A. Crum Brown (1869-1908) bring us to the beginning of the huen- tieth century. ' 0 N ENTERING the Chemistry Department of the University of Edinburgh, King's Buildings, one perceives on the right hand a granite stone on which are inscribed the names of the dignitaries concerned with the design, erection, and opening of th6 department and on the left hand a similar, but less ornate, stone bearing the names of the professors of chemistry and the dates of their appointments to the Chair (Figures 1 and 2). The first appointment was made more than two cen- turies ago a t a time when Scotland was in a very un- settled state. The Jacobite RisingsG'The Fifteen" (1715) and "The Forty-five" (1745)-were to decide whether the country was to be ruled by kings of the House of Hanover or of the Stuarts. In Sir Alexander Grant's "Story of the University of Edinburgh,"' it is recorded that William Robertson, the minister of Gladsmuir (a parish about 12 miles distant from Ed- inburgh) and later (1762-1793) Principal of the Uni- versity, left his manse when the Young Pretender's army was approaching Edinburgh, joined the volun- teers, and when the city had surrendered to Charles Edward, the Young Pretender, went to Haddington and offered his services to General Sir John Cope. It was in these troublous times that the chair of chemistry was established. The Town Council of Edinburgh, which was responsible for appointments in "The Town's College," proceeded in December, 1713, to "elect, nominate and choose Dr. James Craufurd to be Professor of Physic and Chemistry in the said Univer- sity, and appoint convenient rooms to be appropriated to him," and he was "not to expect any salary as Pro- - 1 G u m . SIR A., "Story of the University of Edinburgh." Longmans, Green and Co., London, &st ed., 1884, vol. 11, p. 266. 50 fessor"!! Dr. Craufurd, as a successful physician, could afford to be professor without salary, though he did receive class fees from his students. Indeed, until comparatively recently, the income of a professor de- pended mainly upon the fees he drew from his students and the writer remembers vividly paying three guineas to Professor P. G. Tait, the natural philosopher, and observing an enormous pile of gold sovereigns and silver shillings on the table a t which the formidable man wrote the names of the students on their class cards. Now the professors are in receipt of definite salaries and do not receive class fees and are not responsible for the salaries of the departmental staffs. Craufurd, who had been a pupil of the celebrated 3 Boerhaave in Leyden, accepted the appointment and gave courses of lectures "sometimes." He does not appear to have taken up chemistry with any great success, the subject having become unpopular owing to the attacks of Dr. Pitcairne, the first professor of physic. According to Lyon Playfair2 "Students had learnt to look on it with contempt and the professors did not en- courage its study." Though not a great chemist, Craufurd was evidently a man of parts. His colleague, Dr. Joseph Gibson, the first prbfessor of midwifery, eulogised him on account of "his universal literature and consummate medical knowledge" and "his beauti- ful character, as a good man and sincere friend." Crau- furd was appointed to the chair of Hebrew in 1719, showing one direction of his "universal literature." No portrait of Craufurd appears to exist, so we can only guess as to his appearance. Until the beginnmg of the eighteenth century, the usual method of entering the medical profession was by undergoing apprenticeship to a physician or surgeon, but now i t was beginning to be felt that something more was needed. Accordingly the Colleges of Physicians and Surgeons held "colleges" or courses of instruction and influenced the Town Council to appoint professors in such subjects as anatomy, medicine, chemistry, physic, and midwifery within the University. Such appointments were made, and they have already been referred to in the cases of chemistry, physic, and of midwifeq. This was the beginning of the University Medical School, which with the older Colleges of Physi- cians and Surgeons, has given name and fame to Edin- burgh as a centre of medical education. Craufurd does not appear to have continued his duties as professor of chemistsy for many years. In 1726, the Town Council appointed Dr. Andrew Plum- mer and Dr. John Innes to be professors of medicine and chemistry. Innes devoted himself entirely to medicine, so attention may be directed to his colleawe. point in Science, the great Maclaurin (Professor of Mathematics) always appealed to him as to a living library; and yet so great was his modesty, that he spoke to young audiences upon a point he was per- fectly master of, not without hesitation.'' Plummer having become paralytic and unable to carry on his duties, the Town Council in 1755 appointed William Cullen to be joint professor of medicine and chemistry. Plummer, like Craufurd, had been a student of ~ i e r - From the biography written by Thomson,J hame and was a graduate of Leyden University. He professor of medicine and p&thology in the University lectured on chemical p h h a c y for twenty-nine years of ~ d i ~ b ~ ~ ~ h , some biographical details may be se. and a purgative pill containing c & ~ ~ e l and sulphurated lected. william cullen was the second son in a family antimony is known in pharmacy under the name Of of seven sons and two daughters, his father being factor "Plummer's Pill." Having analysed the water of the to ~~k~ of ~ ~ ~ i l ~ ~ ~ , as well as owning a small es. spring a t Moffat and observed the of the di- tate in Lanarkshire. Born in 1710, he first went to the mate, he caused many patients to resort to it in search grammar school of ~ ~ ~ i l ~ ~ ~ and then to the university of health and thus established the reputation of Moffat of Glasgow, where he apprentice to John as a health resort. Paisley, member of the Faculty of Physicians and Sur- In the absence of a portrait, the following pen picture geons, and graduated as doctor of medicine of the by Dr. Foth-gill3 is worth quoting: "Plummer is no University of Glasgow in 1729. After making several more: he knew Chemistry well; laborious, attentive, voyages to the West Indies as ship's surgeon and spend- and exact, had not a native diffidence veiled his talents ing some months in London with Mr. Murray, an apoth- as a prdector, he would have been the foremost in the ecary in Henrietta Street, he practised medicine a t pupils' esteem. Such was the gentleness of his nature, Shotts, then a small village in Lanarkshire, for a couple such his universal knowled~e, that in any disputed of vears. The inheritance of a small lewcv enabled - him to devote his attention exclusively ro &udy and ' PLAYPAIR, L.. "A century of chemistry in the University of in the winter sessions 1734-35-36 he attended medical Edinburgh." Murray and Gibb, Edinburgh, first ed., 1858, p. 8. . TaomsoN, ,., "rife of wuiam Cullen, M,D,;. William classes in Edinburgh and became one of the founders Blackwood, Edinburgh, first ed., 1832, p. 524. of the Medical Society which received a Royal Charter in 1778 and still continues to be a living force in the medical world. Returning to medical practice in 1736 he numbered amongst his patients the Duke and Duchess of Hamilton and most of the county families of the district round about Hamilton. In addition to his professional work, Cullen interested himself in civic affairs and was twice elected a magistrate of Hamilton. In 1741 he mamed Anna Johnstone, a daughter of the minister of Kilbarchan in Renfrewsbue, by whom he had a family of seven sons and four daughters. Three years after his marriage he migrated to Glasgow, where, in addition to private medical practice, he gave lectures on the theory and practice of physic, on ma- teria medica, on botany, and on chemistry. At first these lectures do not appear to have been recognized by the University, but in 1747 the University faculty ordered a sum of 52 to be appropriated for the pur- chase of apparatus necessary for the teaching of chem- istry. In the years 1747 and 1748 Cullen spent 136 on apparatus! Thereafter he spent 20 each year on its upkeep. respect of his hearers. His opinion of the early chem- ists is shown in the following quotation from his open- ing lecture in Glasgow: ". . . in our lectures, you will notice a great many terms that may seem affectedly pedantic. I am quite sensible of i t ; but the first chemists were not only persons of a low taste, but they also affected to be mysterious, and, therefore, intro- duced a number of uncouth terms which cannot now easily be got quit of, and it is quite necessary you should be acquainted with the meaning of them."4 After eleven years of successful work in Glasgow, Cullen was, as previously mentioned, appointed joint professor of medicine and chemistry in Edinburgh with Plummer in 1755. This appointment was largely due Crum Brawn's Crystal "Black's Balance" Hope's Structure Strontia to the influence of the Duke of Argyle upon the Edin- burgh Town Council and, in those days, it may well be that a Duke's influence was stronger than it is now! The success of Cullen as a teacher of chemistry in Ed- inburgh is shown by the increase in the numbers of his students-in the first year, 17; in'the second, 59; and so increasing until a maximum of 145 was attained. Cullen always retained his interest in medicine and in 1766, he was transferred to the chair of institutes of medicine in succession to Whytt. He continued to lecture until 1789 and died within a few weeks of his retirement. Cullen has been described as a supreme physician, an admirable lecturer and as having trained a large num- ber of very eminent physicians. Of his medical writ- ings, several attained a wide circulation. Though a great experimentalist, Cullen just missed coming to a number of important conclusions. Thus the measure- ment of the latent heat of fusion of ice by his pupil and successor, Joseph Black, is foreshadowed in the ex- periments on the production of cold by solution as in the melting of ice in water, of which phenomenon, Cullen writes: "which is extremely curious; for if the water be heated to 50, and the ice be a t 3Z0, the ther- Until Cullen's time all University lectures had been mameter will sink to j20 during the solution,ws Had delivered in Latin, but he discarded Latin and em- he repeated the experiment with water at higher tern- ployed the English language in his teaching of &emis- peratures he might have come to the general conclusion try--a rash innovation according to many of his col- leagues! He devoted much study and thought to the 4 TEOMSON, I., roc. cit., p. 31. preparation of his lectures and gained the attention and 6 TKOM~ON. I., loc. cit., P. 52. arrived a t by Black. He appears to have been one of the first to use diagrams in which the affinities of bodies toward each other were represented by connecting lines. Two portraits of Cullen are known; the first belongs to the Royal College of Physicians (Figure 3), the second (Figure 4) is from Kay's "Portraits,"' a book of great interest as showing, often in caricature, the notable and other characters of the capital of Scotland a t that period. In addition to his town house, Cullen had a country house a t Ormiston Hill, near Kirknewton, and besides enjoying country pursuits, was fond of a rubber of six- penny whist! Perhaps Cullen's most distinguished student in Glasgow was Joseph Black, who later became his suc- cessor both in Glasgow and Edinburgh Universities. Black was born in Bordeaux in 1728, his father being a wine merchant, one branch of whose business was in that city. In early childhood he was brought to Bel- fast, where he received his schooling, and in 1746, following the example of many Irishmen, he entered Glasgow University as a student of medicine. He showed so much interest and zeal in his chemical studies that Cullen enlisted his services as an assistant and the friendship thus begun was a lifelong one. In 1751 Black came to Edinburgh to complete his medical studies and three years later presented for the degrec of doctor of medicine a thesis entitled "De IIumore Arido i r ~~-~ ~ Cibis orto, et Magnesia Alba." The opening paragraph has been presented in English translation by my col- league, Dr. L. Dobbin,' as follows: "As I was thinking of this, my first little inaugural work, Magnesia Alba spontaneously presented itself, and the subiect pleased me, chiefly because its simplicity makes it more easily adaptable to the prescribed limits, and more suited to 8 RAY, J., "A series of original portraits and caricature etch- ings." Hugh Paton, Edinburgh. first ed., 1837, vol. 1, p. 255. 7 DOBBIN, L., "Joseph Black's inaugural dissertation. I." J. CHEM. EDUC., 12,22>8 (May. 1935). my powers. But when I considered what I had written on it, it did not seem to have such a relation to Medi- cine as the motive of the work required, and I accord- ingly decided to preface it with some notes, as short as possible, on the acid humour derived from food, for which alone magnesia serves as a remedy." In a letter to Cullen,% Black writes about the thesis: ". . .The style through the whole is excessively dry and awkward, but my subject did not allow much ele- gance, and, though it had, I confess myself so imperfect in the Latin, that I really could not have attempted to beautifv it. I oerceive that the Professors here think my experiments new, and seem pleased with them, particularly Alston and Rutherford (the dis- coverer of nitrogen), the latter particularly, because he looks upon himself as the introducer of magnesia into practice here?" A fuller account of the experiments, under the title, "Experiments upon Magnesia Alba, Quick Lime, and some other Alcaline Substances" was read a t a meeting of the Philosophical Society of Edinburgh, the pre- cursor of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, in 1755, and appeared in the Essays and Observations, Physical and Literary of the Society. Alembic Club Reprint No. l9 reproduces this paper in a convenient form. These "Experiments" are Black's most important con- tributions to chemistry and are notable as introducing the balance and the carrying out of accurate quantita- TUOMSON, J., ~ O C . cit.. p. 51. DAlembic Club Reprints No. 1, Wm. F. Clay, Edinburgh, first ed.. 1893. tive experiments. For many years the balance pic- tured in Figure 5 has been preserved in the Chemistry Department Museum with the label "Black's Balance" attached, but recent investigations by Professor Mel- drum cast some doubt upon the veracity of the descrip- tion. There is no doubt, however, as to the genuine- ness of Black's chair (Figure 6) and Hope's phial of strontia (Figure 5), and also Hope's chair (Figure 7), all of which are carefully preserved. Black's great contribution to physics was the dis- covery of latent heat. Reference has already been made to Cullen's experiments, but it was not until 1762 that Black explained his theory of latent heat to the Philosophical Club or Society of Professors a t Glasgow and it only appeared in print Some forty years later in the edition of Black's Lectures, by Robison, dated 1803. As already mentioned Black succeeded Cullen both in Glasgow and in Edinburgh. In the University of Glasgow he gave lectures on medicine as well as on chemistry. After coming to Edinburgh in 1766, Black lectured on chemistry only and apparently the state of his health accounted for his disinclination to further experimental research. He was, however, a supporter of the antiphlogistic doctrines set forth by Lavoisier and, at the instance of the latter, was honoured by election as a foreign member of the French "Acadhie." Two portraits of Black are well known. The first (Figure 8) is from a painting and the second (Figure 9) from Kay's Portraits.lo In the first, we find confirma- tion of the description of him as being of a very modest, gentle, and sincere character. The society in which he - 1 0 ~ ~ , J . , b c . c i t . . p . 5 4 . moved included such distinguished men as James Watt, the engineer; David Hume, the historian; and Adam Smith, the author of "The Wealth of Nations." He died in his 71st year, while sitting alone a t table, and so completely without a struggle that a cup of milk was found resting on his knees and steadied by his hand, without a drop having been spilt. Even in his last will and testament he showed quantitative exactitude, directing that his property be divided into 10,000 shares, so as to be able to allot to his various relatives the amount which he thought each could claim. Black's successor to the chair of chemistry was Thomas Charles Hope, who was born in 1766, the year in which Black was appointed to the chair. Hope was the third son of Dr. John Hope, professor of botany and founder of the Botanical Gardens of Edinburgh. Educated a t the High School and the University of that city, he graduated in medicine in 1787 and there- after lectured in Glasgow until 1795, when he was appointed joint professor with Black whose health was failing; and on the death of the latter, he became sole professor. Hope devoted much attention to his lec- tures and the growth of his class was phenomenal. Under Black the number of students had risen to 225, while under Hope the number rose to 575 in the year 1823. This entailed the provision of a large lecture theatre and in January, 1820, thirty-one years after the foundation stone of the "New College of Edinburgh" (now called "The Old College") had been laid by Lord Napier, the Grand Master Mason of Scotland, the chemistry classroom in the southwest corner of the College was reported by Playfair, the architect, to be ready for occupation. It may be mentioned here, that when the "New Buildings" for the Medical Faculty were completed in 1884, the Chemistry Department vacated its class rooms in favour of the Zoological De- partment and was given new premises occupying the northwest comer of the "New Buildings." Thirty- five years later, Chemistry in Relation to Medicine was instituted as a separate department, retaining the premises in the "New Buildings," and the Chemistry School was transferred to its present palatial quarters a t King's Buildings, which have been described in THIS JOURNAL.^^ Toward the end of Hope's life, a t a gathering of more than two hundred gentlemen of rank and learning, Lord Meadowbank in proposing his health said: ". . . He (Hope) made himself master of all that was known in chemical science--of all that was going on within its boundsvf everything that had been ascertained, or was in process of investigation. This was digested into a course of lectures, conceived in the most plain and intelligible language, so constructed that no individual who heard them, of the most ordinary capacity, could not follow clearly and distinctly every word he uttered. . . . ."I2 Would that this could be said of all present- day professors! In the course of his reply, Hope stated that during the fifty-one years of his tenure of the chair, he had not been detained from his labours more than six days by indisposition. Surely a record. Hope's name is associated with the discovery of the earth strontia, or "strontites" as he originally darned it. He communicated his discovery to the Glasgow College Literary Society in 1792 and in the following year to the Royal Society of Edinburgh under the title "An Account of a Mineral from Strontian, and of a Peculiar Species of Earth which it contains." (Vide Fig- ure 5.) Strontian (pronounced Stronteean) is a small village in Argyllshire and the mineral is now called strontianite (SrCOs). An interesting piece of work published by Hope in 1800 was on the contraction of water by heat, when he showed that its maximum den- sity was a t 39.1F. Until Hope's time students were not given the oppor- tunity of doing practical chemistry. When the new department was opened, space was given to Dr. Ander- son, Hope's assistant, and he beam the teachina of - - practical chemistry. The best portrait of Hope is by Raebum and the engraving (Figure 10) from the painting shows hi to have been a man of imposing presence. An interesting point with regard to the engraving is that on the visit of George IV to Edinburgh, it was reproduced as the portrait of King George, the only alteration being the introduction of the sash of the Order of the Garter across his chest. One anecdote handed down to me as showing that Hope occasionally lapsed into broad Scots says that during a lecture, an excited student threw peas a t the '1 WUXER. J.. J. CHEY. EDUC.. 4.5704 (May. 1927). la &Y, J.. lot. tit., vol. 11, p. 451. Professor, and some struck him on the face, whereupon he started off to reprimand the offender in dignified language, which suddenly altered, saying-"Such con- duct is unbecoming of a gentleman and moreover-it's daum'd sair!" The memory of Hope is kept alive by the annual award of the Hope Prize Scholarships to the most de- serving students in the chemical laboratory. The original gift of E800-given by Hope to the Senatus and since supplemented-now provides an income of about 150 a year. On the death of Hope in 1844, William Gregory was appointed to the chair. Gregory, born in 1803, was the son of Dr. James Gregory, professor of the insti- tutes, and later, of the practice of medicine, whose prod- FIGURE 11.-WILLIAM GREGORY uct, "Gregory's Mixture," is- still offered to young people as an alternative to castor oil. He studied under the great Liebig and subsequently translated several of Liebig's writings. After a varied teaching experience in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Dublin, and Aber- deen, he succeeded Hope in Edinburgh. The portrait (Figure 11) of Gregory shows him as a man of large build, but due to a fever in his youth, he was precluded from much walking and condemned to an almost sedentary life. He was noted as a microscopist, a linguist, and a musician. He died in 1858 at the com- paratively early age of fifty-five. The next occupant of the chair was a man of affairs- Lyou Playfair, subsequently Baron Playfair of St. Andrews. Playfair's grandfather was Principal of St. Andrews University in 1800 and his father a medical officer in the Indian army. He was born in 1818 a t Chunar, Bengal, and a t six years of age was sent to the parish school of St. Andrews and a t the mature age of fourteen to the University as a "Bejant." From St. Andrews he went to Glasgow with a view to business training, but disliking ofiice work he became a student of medicine a t the Andersonian College. There he studied under Professor Thomas Graham, whose work on diffu- sion perpetuates his name, and had as fellow-students David Livingstone, the explorer of the Dark Continent, and James Young, whose foresight and energy de- veloped the shale parafiin industry in Scotland. Play- fair continued his medical studies a t Edinburgh Uni- versity for a short period, but ill health compelled him to take a voyage to India in 1837, and, on his return, he followed Graham to University College, London. The fame of Liebig then attracted him to Giessen, where he produced his first scientific paper, "On a New Fat in the Powder of Nutmegs." From Giessen he went to Manchester and did very varied work until 1858, when he was appointed to the chair of chemistry in Edin- burgh. This work included the management of calico printing works for two years; ,honorary professorship of chemistry in the Manchester Royal Institution; membership of Royal Commissions on Sanitary Condi- tions in large Towns, Irish Famine, and the 1851 Ex- hibition: and ioint secretarmhip of the Department . - of science a n d - k t . In Edinburgh, Playfair (Figure 12) showed himself an able organizer and he created a really useful teaching laboratory and introduced a system of class examina- tions which is still adhered to. He numbered among his students the Prince of Wales (later King Edward VII) and Prince Alfred (later) Duke of Edinburgh. Of the former, Wemyss ReidL3 tells the following story: "The Prince and Playfair were standing near a caul- dron containing lead which was boiling a t white heat. 'Has your Royal Highness any faithin scieuce?' said Playfair. 'Certainly,' replied the Prince. Playfair then carefully washed the Prince's hand wit& ammonia to get rid of any grease that might be on it. 'Will you now place your hand in this boilmg metal, and ladle out a portion of it?' he said to his distmguished pupil. 'Do you tell me to do this?' asked the Prince. 'I do,' replied Playfair. The Prince instantly put his hand into the cauldron, and ladled out some of the boiling lead without sustaining any injury. It is a well-known scientific fact that the human hand, if perfectly cleansed, may be placed uninjured in lead boiling a t a white heat, the moisture of the skin protecting it under these conditions from any injury. Should the lead he a t a perceptibly lower temperature, the effect would, of course, he very different. It requires, however, courage of no common order for a novice to try such an experiment, even a t the bidding of a man so distin- guished in scieuce as was Playfair." - '' Rem. W.. "Memoirs and correspondence of Lyon Playfair," Cassell& Co., New York, first ed., 1899, p. 201. On the universities being given parliamentary repre- sentation, Playfair stood as a candidate for St. An- drews and Edinburgh and was elected in 1868 and sat for seventeen years in the House of Commons. He resigned the chair of chemistry in 1869 and his subse- quent career was largely political. For a short period he was Postmaster General and was.responsible for the introduction of the half-penny post-card. He died in 1898. Many honours came to Playfair. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1848 and President of the Chemical Society for 185759, He was created a Knight Commander of the Order of the-Bath (K.C.B.) in 1883 and Baron Playfair of St. Andrews in 1892. His successor was Alexander Cmm Brown, a son of the Reverend Doctor John Brown, a distinguished Presbyterian divine, who was twice married. A son by the first marriage was John Brown, M.D., the author of two charming books-"Rab and his Friends" and "Hore Suhsecive." A. Crum Brown, born in 1838, was the only son of the second marriage. Educated a t the High School and University of Edinburgh, he graduated there as M.A. in 1858 and M.D. in 1861 and was the first to gain the degree of DSc. of London Uni- versity in 1862. After some time with Bunsen in Heidelberg and with Kolbe in Marburg, Crum Brown settled down in Edinburgh and from 1863 until 1869 he was lecturer in chemistry in the Royal College of Surgeons. The number of his students was very small and the story goes that one day he came home saying "my student has not turned up." On the retirement of Lyon Playfair in 1869, Crum Brown was appointed to the chair, which he occupied for nearly forty years. His first year course of lec- tures was attended by very large numbers of students- sometimes approaching six hundred. A most interest- ing lecturer with a most acute sense of humour, he was loved by his students, though their welcome to him on beginning a lecture was a somewhat noisy demonstra- tion. To the advanced students he was the embodi- ment of chemical knowledge. Every student of or- ganic chemistry knows Crnm Brown and Gibson's rule of substitution in the benzene nucleus, but compara- tively few know of, or remember, Crum Brown's early work done in the sixties on graphic formulation or that on substitution in various alkaloids; or of investiga- tions of organic sulphur compounds in the seventies; or of crystal structure in the eighties (see Figure 5, model of sodium chloride crystal structure) ; or of the electrolytic syntheses of dibasic acids in the nineties. F I G U R E 13.-A. CRWM BROWN Crum Brown was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1879 and President of the Chemical Society in 1891-93 and all four Scottish universities conferred uDon him their honorary demees. He devoted much time to the service of the ~ a c u l t ~ of Medicine and it was said that he might have filled the chairs of physi- and acquired proficiency in the western European languages and was credited also with a knowledge of Chinese. His interest in church affairs was great and he used to tell with great glee the story of the Indian student who offered to rent two sittings in Crum Brown's church if he let him through the first professional ex- amination. On his retirement in 1908: he was succeeded by his pupil, James Walker (now Sir James) and among others of his distinguished pupils may be mentioned Alexander Smith (Chicago and Columbia Universities), Sir David Masson (Melbourne University), and James Kendall (Columbia, New Yoyk, and Edinburgh Uni- versities). The portrait (Figure 13) shows Crum Brown as an old man, but does not convey the lively expression which those of us who had the privilege of knowing "Crnmmie," delighted to see. For some years before his death in 1922, Cmm Brown led the life of an invalid, but to the end he retained that sparkling wit, which endeared him to all. From the foregoing narrative it may be noted that the Edinburgh chair has been occupied by men who had been Edinburgh students and, after a ripe experi- ence gained elsewhere, were recalled by their Alma Mater. Of the thousands who did not return, many interesting stories might be written, but perhaps the most appropriate to THIS JOURNAL is that of Benjamin Rush, M.D., a student of Joseph Black in 1768, who returned to America to be the first professor of chemis- try in the University of ~ennsylvania in 1769 and was ology or pharmacology acceptably. Besides his scien- a signatory of the Declaration of Independence on the tific attainments, Crum Brown had a gift for languages 4th of July, 1776. Rush wrote from Edinburgh to Dr. John Morgan, also an Edinburgh graduate, founder of the Medical School of the University of Pennsylvania: "I thank you for the pains you have taken to secure me the Professorship of Chemistry. I think I am now mas- ter of the science, and could teach it with confidence and ease. I have attended Dr. Black for two years diligently, and have, I thmk, received from him a com- prehensive and accurate view of the science, together with all his latest improvements in Chemistry, which are of so important a nature that no man, in my opinion, can understand or teach chemistry as a science without being acquainted with them." The confidence of Rush is in marked contrast to the modesty of Black, and the portrait (Figure 14)14 shows him to have been a man of strong personality. S m , E. F., "Old chemistries," McGraw-Hill Book Co., Inc., New York City, 1927, frontispiece.


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