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Kay's Originals Vol. 1


BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES. 77 hearty pinch of snuff, exclaimed, ‘‘ Vir sapit pi paum lopuitur 1” and then descended from the rostrum with the greatest composure. He used to boast that when a student he once forced a smile from Professor Leslie, while engaged in the act of public prayer with the students. Skene had a fever, and was obliged for some time to wear a huge horse-hair wig. One morning, during prayers, he doffed his wig, and threw it into the middle of the floor, at the same time affecting to look round, that he might discover the wag who had treated him with such indignity. He then went quickly forward, took up the wig, and studiously placed it with the back part in front of his bald POW. The whole affair was conducted, on his part, with such comic gravity, as to force a smile from the saturnine Professor. In the latter part of his life, Dr. Ogilvy had an attack of apoplexy, which tended to weaken his mental faculties. He ultimately repaired to London, where he died, He was a very plainlooking man; and hence his sobripuet of “The Beauty of Holiness.” It was the fashion of his younger days to powder deeply : a friend as ugly as himself, chancing to meet him one day, compared him to the foul fiend looking out from under a wreath of snow-“Gude e’en to you, brither Hornie!” was the Doctor’s ready reply. The Print strongly resembles him. No. 11.-DR. ALEXANDER GERARD. This eminent Professor first held the chair of Moral Philosophy, and afterwards that of Divinity, in Marischal College, from which chair he was translated in 1771 to the Professorship of Divinity in King’s College. His works on Taste and Genius are well known. He died in March 1795. He is represented as addressing his colleagues, and saying-“ Had you not sold your patronages, first minister might have been annexed to my divine chair of verity and taste.” This alluded to what had taken place a considerable number of years before. As the reveuue of the College was but very slender, the members were reduced to the necessity of having recourse, for the improvement of it, to such means as were within their reach. With this view, several schemes were proposed about the year 1751, and at last the sale of the “Superiorities and Church Patronages” was adopted, by which it is said that three thousand pounds sterling were added to the funds of the society. The purchase was made by the Earl of Fife, who thus acquired the right of patronage to about fifteen parishes. The quill in the Doctor’s cap probably refers to his diligence and success as an author. No. 111.-MR. RODERICR M‘LEOD, Sub-Principal of King’s College. This gentleman was for many years a Professor in the University, and in 1764 was chosen Sub-Principal. Whilst holding this appointment, he became remarkable for his extraordinary exertions in procuring studenh to enter King’s College. His general acquaintance throughout the Highlands afforded him excellent opportunities of doing so; and he was not sparing of his endeavours. His tours through the north of Scotland were long proverbial in
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78 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES. Aberdeen ; on which account he is attired in the costume of a Highlander, with a Lochaber axe. Upon the demise of Principal Chalmers, he was unanimously elected in his place, and held the office till the period of his death, upon the 11th of September 1815, in the eighty-eighth year of his age. No. IT.-Said to be a capital likeness of MR. JOHN LESLIE, Professor of the Greek language in King’s College, Aberdeen. He was accused-whether justly or unjustly we know not-of saying that he had rendered the Greek language vernacular from Aberdour, in Fife, to Aberdeen. He was an old schoolfellow of Dr. Robertson, the historian, through whose recommendation he obtained the Professorship. He died at Old Aberdeen, upon the 24th of May 1790, aged sixty-nine. No. V.-DR. JOHN CHALMERS, who held the situation of ,Principal of King’s College for nearly threescore years. He was a man of very considerable learning, but devoted himself chiefly to agricultural pursuits. He had so long held the Principalship, that the patience of some of the expectants of the office seemed wellnigh worn out. The Doctor was aware of this, and used to make it the occasion of many a sly joke. He had a farm at Sclattie, in the neighbourhood of Aberdeen, whither he used to retire during the summer months. On one of his journeys thither he fell from his horse, and received a severe contusion on the shoulder. The report of the accident soon spread, and it was confidently reported at Aberdeen that the Principal was lying at the point of death. Two of the Professors, each an aspirant to the expected vacancy, set out post-haste to enquire after their friend‘s health, and arrived simultaneously, although by different routes, at Sclattie. They were ushered into the silent and darkened chamber of the wounded man, and, on stealthy tiptoe, with countenances composed into fitting demureness, took their stations on opposite sides of what they believed (hoped 1) was his death-bed. A solemn silence of some minutes was at length abruptly broken by the PrincipaI thrusting out his capenveloped head, and putting the perplexing question, “ Weel, gentlemen, which of you is to be Principal ?” The Professors looked first at the Doctor, then at each other, and after a hearty laugh, in which the Principal’s voice was “ready chorus,” sincerely congratulated him on his escape. The Doctor, however, survived them both. He died at Sclattie upon the 7th May 1800. No. VI.-MR. THOMAS GORDON, commonly called “ Humorist Gordon.” He was Professor of Philosophy for a long period of years. He possessed vast and varied learning-was a scholar, a mathematician, an antiquarian, and a divine. He was uncle’ to the late talented Dr. Eden Scott Gordon, and was one of a literary club which used to hold their weekly meeting in an Inn in Old Aberdeen, He was a man of a jovial turn, fond of anecdote, and a great humorist. On one occasion he had given dire offence to Professor Leslie, who
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