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Kay's Originals Vol. 1


BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES. 321 . Such is a brief account of the election; but when the scrutiny had been entered into, the precaution of the Dean of Faculty was found to have been highly judicious. On finding himself in a minority, Dr. Carlyle wisely withdrew his claim before the report of the committee was presented. Professor Dalziel was thereupon declared the “ successful candidate.” PROFESSOARN DREWD ALZIELw as the son of respectable, although not wealthy parents. His father was a wright, or carpenter, at the village of Kirkliston, in Linlithgowshire. He was born in 1742, and educated at the school of the village. Dr. Drysdale was at that time minister of Kirkliston ; and, fortunately for the young scholar, took much interest in his progress, by assisting and directing him in his studies. In course of time young Dalziel entered the University of Edinburgh; where, with a view to the ministry, he studied with much success, and acquired a classical as well as theological education. In the Divinity Hall he is known to have delivered the prescribed course of lectures to the satisfaction of Professor Hamilton ; but it does not appear that he ever was licensed. About this time he was fortunately appointed tutor to Lord Maitland (Earl of Lauderdale), with whom he travelled to Paris, and pleased his pupil’s father so much, that, shortly after his return from France, the Earl resolved to use his influence with the Town Council of Edinburgh to procure his election to the Greek chair, then vacant by the death of Professor Robert Hunter. Among other obstacles in the way of his preferment, some of the Council favoured another candidate, Mr. Duke Gordon, afterwards well known for many years as under-librarian of the College.’ The interest of the Earl of Lauderdale, however, prevailed ; and Dalziel was appointed to the Greek chair in 1773. The enthusiastic manner in which the young Professor immediately set about discharging the duties of the chair justified the choice which had been made. 1 Mr. Duke Gordon was the son of a linen manufacturer, and born in the Potterrow, Edinburgh. His father was a native of Euntly-a Jacobite-and a thorough clansman. Hence, in testimony of his respect to the head of the clan, his son was called Duke Gordon. Duke (who abhorred the name) was educated at a school kept in the Cowgate by Mr. Andrew Waddell-a nonjurant-who had “been out in the forty-five,” and was of course patronised by all his Jacobitical friends. Duke Gordon made great progress under Mr. Waddell ; and, although compelled to follow hu father’s profession for several years, had imbibed such a desire for languages, that he contrived to prosecute his studies ; and, on the death of the old man, abandoned the manufacture of linen altogether, and devoted himself entirely to literature. He had views to the ministry ; but some peculiar notions which he entertained on theology shut the chorch doors upon him. In 1763 he was appointed assistant-librarian of the College Library -a situation for which he was peculiarly well qualified by his extensive learning and general literary acquirementa. The emoluments of the office being limited, he taught elasaes at his own house, by which he added considerably to his income. He never was married ; and, such was his frugality, he died in 1802 worth a great deal of money. To three of his particular friends-Professor Dalziel, the Rev. Andrew Johnston, minister of Salton, and Mr. William White, writer in Edinburgh-he conveyed, by his will, all his effecta, burdened with a life annuity to his only sister, the wife of a respectable shoemaker, together with several other private legacies. His public bequests were- E500 to the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh ; the reversion of a tenement of houses, of nearly the aanie value, to the poor of the parish of St. Cuthbert’s ; and such of his books to the Library of the Univenity of Ediibnrgh as the Librarian should think proper to be added to that collection. 2 T
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322 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES. In the University of Edinburgh the taste for Grecian literature had been gradually giving way. Besides, the great fame of Professor Moor of the Glasgow College, together with the excellent editions of the Greek classics then issuing from the press of the Foulises, had well-nigh annihilated the reputation of the capital altogether. The enthusiasm and ability of Professor Dalziel, however, imparted new life to the study of classical learning; and the various improvements which he introduced in his system of tuition, tended in an eminent degree to restore the character of the University, and to draw around him students from the most distant quarters. The elementary class-books he compiled were so well adapted to the object for which they were designed, that they soon found their way into many of the chief schools of England ; and, with certain modifications and improvements, are still very generally in use. Professor Dalziel was in the habit of delivering a series of lectures to his students on Grecian history, antiquities, literature, philosophy, and the fine arts. These discourses were always well attended, and were deeply interesting even to the youngest of his auditors. “There was a witchery in his address which could prevail alike over sloth and over levity,” and never failed to rivet the attention of his hearers. When the Royal Society of Edinburgh was instituted in 1783, Mr. Dalziel was prevailed on to undertake the duties of Secretary to its literary class ; and to his labours while acting in this capacity, the Society is indebted for several able essays and other interesting communications. On the death of Dr. James Robertson, Professor of Oriental Languages in 1795, Mr. Dalziel, who had been associated with him as conjunct Secretary and Librarian, was appointed Keeper of the College Library, having as his assistant Mr. Duke Gordon, with whom he lived on terms of great intimacy ; and, on whose death, in 1802, he did ample justice to his memory, in an exceedingly well written and very interesting memoir of his life, which he communicated to the Editor of the Scots Magazine. After a lingering illness, Mr. Dalziel died on the 8th December 1806. He was married to a daughter of Dr. Drysdale, his early friend and benefactor-a lady of distinguished accomplishments and sweetness of temper, by whom he had several children. In stature he was among the tallest of the middle size; his complexion was fair ; his aspect mild and interesting ; his eyes were blue, and full of vigorous expression ; and his features plump, without heaviness or grossness. His address was graceful and impressive. He took little exercise ; but when he did walk, his favourite resort was the King’s Park. The attitude in which he is portrayed in the Print represents him in one of his rural excursions. During the latter period of his life Mr. Dalziel resided within the College, in the house which had been long occupied by Principal Robertson. The personal appearance of Professor Dalziel was prepossessing.
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