Commonplace book of Francis Pringle, c.1699-1746

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

Commonplace book of Francis Pringle. The whole of the volume, excepting pp.157-159 [copy of a letter of Pringle to Dr John Pringle concerning points of Latin grammar], is in the hand of Francis Pringle. The volume comprises four main categories:

  • Material relating to the history of the University of St Andrews, mostly in Latin: address on the meeting of university and town, 1725; introductory address for students in philosophy [with an address for the same from the University of Edinburgh]; address for students on Homer; address of Pringle in application for the chair of philosophy, together with speech of acceptance and inaugural lecture; various addresses of Pringle to students; introductory prefaces to various scholastic exercises; speech of Pringle as rector to the Lothian nation; addresses to the faculty as dean of arts; various declarations at the time of the election of James Hadow as Rector; speeches of Pringle as procurator for the rectorial election of 1736; ode to be set to music by Mr Abel on his trial for the degree of doctor of music [8 February 1706]; prefaces to the diplomas of John Brydges [1st duke of Chandos and Chancellor] [1724] and Augustus Frederick duke of Cambridge [1746]; medical diploma of George Innes; diploma of John Skelly as doctor of theology; diploma of Hugh Warrander as Doctor of Law; expulsion of James Blair, student of St Leonard's College, 1720; on student archery; letter of recommendation to Lord Islay of Thomas Tullideph as next Principal of St Leonard's College [16 October 1738], together with further letters on the same [including a note on the accounts of St Leonard's College]; letter of St Leonard's College to the magistrates and town council of Cupar [Fife] recommending A.C. [Andrew Cornfoot ?] to the vacant post of schoolmaster; testimony of St Leonard's College in favour of James Mill; letter to Rev Dr Niving concerning disciplinary action taken by St Leonard's College against Bruce and two other students [2 June 1742].
  • Commemorative verses. The subjects of these verses, mostly in Latin, mostly by Pringle, are Margaret Home of Roweston, William Brown [cook to St Leonard's College], Alexander Campbell [d.1724], Richard Waddell [Rector of the University of St Andrews, 1686-1689], Arthur Makgill [d.1725], David Bruce [d.1710], Charles Ross of Balnagowan [Rosshire] [d.1732], John Melville [d.1734], John Anstruther esq. [d.1717], Alexander Bayne [d.1737], John Scroop, Thomas Pringle [d.1735] [set to music, not extant, by Signor Barsanti, being the first or last song sung in the Catch-Club of which Thomas Pringle was the founder], Walter Pringle [d.1736] [with notes on others of his family], Patrick Bayne [d.1736], Alexander Stuart [d.1739], Robert Rodham [d.1744].
  • Other verses, mostly by Pringle. Subjects include Mavisbank [Edinburgh], [home of John Clarke, baron of the Exchequer of Scotland] to Dr John Pringle, on the marriage of William Murray with Lady Eliza [by D.S. of Scotstarvit], on the occasion of John Aikman's death.
  • Copies of letters of Pringle. To Alexander Bayne advising on methods of instructing the young in Latin [1636]; to the Rector concerning a proposed change in the regulations governing elections to the rectorial office [not earlier than 1736]; to Scotstarvit on an attempt to have Pringle transferred to Edinburgh [1734]; to Walter Pringle on the same subject; to Dr John Pringle on the same subject [St Andrews, 18 February 1734]; to Dr John Pringle protesting about a recent farce composed by him showing members of the Catch Club in a poor light; to James Austin, merchant of Perth, on an ode in praise of the duke of Argyll; to [Thomas] Ruddiman commenting on his Latin Grammar; to a student at the University of Oxford concerning a translation into Latin; to Miss Katie Hall; to Dr Charles Stuart commending Thomas Tullideph as the next Principal of St Leonard's College, University of St Andrews; letter to Sir Alexander Ramsay of Balmain [Kincardineshire ?], patron of Ramsay's Bursars, asking permission to nominate a successor to James Carnegie now practising as an apothecary in Brechin [Angus] [21 October 1738]; to the same accepting his nomination of Charles Ross despite his lacking one of the four surnames to which the bursaries are attached, with a note on the revised dates of the university terms; to Thomas Simson, Chandos Professor of Medicine, University of St Andrews, concerning his dialogue on the immortality of the soul [22 June 1739]; to John Clarke, Baron the Exchequer of Scotland recommending J..n B..ge, presently schoolmaster at Hitchill [Dumfriesshire ?], lately tutor to the children of Sir Robert Pringle, as schoolmaster of Musselburgh [Mid Lothian]; to [Thomas] Ruddiman on a pastoral elegy by [Robert] Hunter; to the mother of Katie Hall on her death [9 January 1742]; to Sir John Hall on the death of his father James Hall [1 April 1742].
  • Other material: Resolution of the Dean and Faculty of Advocates upon the death of Lord Newhall [Walter Pringle] 17 December 1736; instructions on the playing of the flute; formula for the punishment and absolution of a crime.

Administrative / Biographical History

Francis Pringle of Homebyres (c.1665-1747) was professor of philosophy at the University of St Andrews. Son of a Border laird, he studied at the University of Edinburgh, graduating in 1694. He spent almost his whole career at St Leonard's College, St Andrews, arriving in 1699 and working on until his retirement in 1747. In 1702 he took charge of the first fixed professorship of Greek. He was involved in the negotiations with the Duke of Chandos over his proposal to endow a chair of eloquence when the University wished for a chair of Medicine and Anatomy. In 1735 he defended a student, James Playfair, against a sentence of extrusion when accused of insulting the teaching of certain subjects at the University in a procurator's speech. He served as quaestor for many years, resigning in 1743.

The commonplace book was originally a Renaissance idea to have a book into which favourite passages of text, sayings and quotations could be copied. Students created notebooks in their studies to compile a collections of ideas from their readings to be used in future speeches, compositions and if they were training for the ministry, sermons. These would provide a series of headings under which to organise the sermon, an aid to memory, and a store for useful passages of Scripture or commentary for future works.

Arrangement

Single item

Conditions Governing Access

By appointment with the Keeper of Manuscripts. Access to records containing confidential information may be restricted.

Acquisition Information

Presented to the Library by David Laing, Dec 1816.

Note

Call number used to be ms1886

Other Finding Aids

Individual Manuscripts and Small Collections database available as part of Manuscripts Database.

Physical Characteristics and/or Technical Requirements

Binding: decorated calf.Paper: 18.9x24.7cm

Archivist's Note

Description compiled by Maia Sheridan, Archives Hub project archivist, based on material from the Manuscripts Database

Conditions Governing Use

Applications for permission to quote should be sent to the Keeper of Manuscripts. Reproduction subject to usual conditions: educational use and condition of documents.

Custodial History

Signature of David Laing, Edinburgh, 1814.

Accruals

None