Man, James

, a schoolmaster of considerable learning, but chiefly known as the antagonist of the celebrated Ruddiman, was born about the beginning of the last century, at Whitewreatb, in the parish of Elgin, and county of Murray, and was educated, first at the parish school of Longbride, and afterwards at King’s college, Aberdeen, where he took his degree of master of arts in 1721. He | was afterwards appointed schoolmaster of the parish school of Touch, in the county of Aberdeen; and at length, in 1742, master of the poor’s hospital, in the city of Aberdeen. While in this station, his zeal for the character of the very celebrated Scotch historian and poet, Buchanan, led him to join the party of Scotch scholars, politicians, and writers, who were dissatisfied with Ruddiman’s edition of Buchanan’s worfcs, published in 1715, 2 vols. folio, and Jie determined himself to give a new edition more agreeable to the views he entertained of Buchanan as a historian, which, he being a staunch presbyterian, were of course adverse to Ruddiman’s well known sentiments. In the mean time he thought it necessary to show the errors and defects of Ruddiman’s edition, and accordingly published a work, the title of which will give the reader some idea of its contents: “A censure and examination of Mr. Thomas Ruddiman’s philological notes on the works of the great Buchanan, more particularly on the history of Scotland; in which also, most of the chronological and geographical, and many of the historical and political notes, are taken into consideration. In a letter to a friend. Necessary for restoring the true readings, the graces and beauties, and for understanding the true meaning of a vast number of passages of Buchanan’s writings, which have been so foully corrupted, so miserably defaced, so grossly perverted and misunderstood: Containing many curious particulars of his life, and a vindication of his character from many gross calumnies,Aberdeen, 1751. This work, which extends to 574 pages small octavo, forms a very elaborate examination of Ruddiman’s edition, not only as referring to classical points, but matters of history, and is distinguished throughout by an unjustifiable contempt for Ruddiman’s knowledge and talents. Blameable as this was, and as his style generally is, he evidently proves that he was no mean verbal critic, and that his researches into the history of Buchanan and his works had been very extensive. With a better temper he might have proved an antagonist more worthy of Rnddiman’s serious attention. The latter, however, replied in 1754, in a pamphlet entitled “Anticrisis, or a Discussion of the scurrilous and malicious libel published by one James Man of Aberdeen,” 8vo, which was followed by “Audi alteram partem; or a further vindication of Mr. Thomas Ruddiman’s edition of the great Buchanan’s works,1756, 8vo. Both these contain | an able vindication of the author; but the latter is particularly valuable, on account of the critical remarks Ruddiman offers on Burman’s philological notes on Buchanan.

Mr. Man died in 1761. In private life his character was highly respected, and his manners were amiable. He was a very useful superintendent of the poor’s hospital, to which he left more than half the little property he had accumulated. He had made collections for an edition of Arthur Johnston’s poems, which were in the hands of the late professor Thomas Gordon of Aberdeen, and had been encouraged by many clergymen to undertake the history of the church of Scotland, for which task he was well qualified by his learning and diligence. The only undertaking, however, which he lived to accomplish, although not t6 publish, was his edition of Buchanan’s History, published in 1762, 8vo. Whatever may be the defects in this edition, we do not mention it as any honour to Buchanan’s countrymen, that it is the last which has appeared. 1


Chalmers’s Life of Rudditnan, p. 248, &c.