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professor of philosophy in the marischal college, Aberdeen, and a learned

, professor of philosophy in the marischal college, Aberdeen, and a learned writer, was born in that city in the month of July 1717. His father, William Duncan, was a respectable tradesman in the same place, and his mother, Euphemia Kirkwood, was the daughter of a wealthy farmer in East Lothian, the first district in Scotland where agriculture was much improved. Young Duncan received his grammatical education partly in the public grammar-school of Aberdeen, and partly at Foveran, about fifteen miles distant, where there was a boardingschool, which at that time was greatly frequented, on account of the reputation of Mr. George Forbes, the master. In November 1733, Mr. Duncan entered the marischal college of Aberdeen, and applied himself particularly to the study of the Greek language, under the celebrated professor Dr. Thomas Blackwell. After going through the ordinary course of philosophy and mathematics, which continues for three years, he took the degree of M. A. This was in April 1737, and he never took any other degree. Mr. Duncan appears to have been designed for the ministry, and in this view he attended the theological lectures of the professors at Aberdeen for two winters. Not, however, finding in himself any inclination to the clerical profession, he quitted his native place, and removed to London in 1739, where he became an author by profession. In this capacity various works were published by him without his name; the exact nature and number of which it is not in our power to ascertain. It is in general understood that he translated several books from the French, and that he engaged in different undertakings which were proposed to him by the booksellers. There is reason to believe that he had a very considerable share in the translation of Horace which goes under the name of Watson. Without, however, anxiously inquiring after every translation, and every compilation in which Mr. Duncan might be concerned, we shall content ourselves with taking notice of the three principal productions upon which his literary reputation is founded. The first, in point of time, was his translation of several select orations of Cicero. It has gone through several impressions, and was much used as a schoolbook, the Latin being printed on one side, and the English on the other. A new edition in this form appeared in 1792. Sir Charles Whitworth, in 1777, published Mr. Duncan’s version in English only, for the benefit of such young persons of both sexes, as have not had the benefit of a liberal education. The publication is in 2 vols. 8vo. In his preface, sir Charles speaks highly, and we believe justly, of Mr. Duncan’s merit as a translator, and ranks him with a Leland, a Hampton, and a Melmoth. Mr. Duncan accompanied his translation with short but judicious explanatory notes.

professor of philosophy in the Marischal college, Aberdeen, and author

, professor of philosophy in the Marischal college, Aberdeen, and author of several valuable works, was born in that city, in 1711, probably in March, as we find he was baptized on April 1. His father was an eminent merchant, who had a family of twenty children by his wife, a sister to Dr. Thomas Blackwell, of whom we have already given an account. This, their second son, after being educated at the grammar school of his native city, was entered of Marischal college in 1724, where he went through a course of philosophy under professor Daniel Garden, and of mathematics under Mr. John Stewart. He took his degree of M. A. in 1728, when he was but little more than seventeen years old. Being intended for the church, his next application was to the study of divinity, under the professor of that branch, Mr. James Chalmers, a man of great learning and piety, whom the editor of this Dictionary is proud to record as his grandfather. Mr. Fordyce studied divinity with great ardour, the utmost of his ambition being ordination in a church that affords her sons but a moderate emolument. Circumstances with which we are unacquainted, appear to have prevented his full intention, as he never became a settled minister in the establishment of his native country. He was admitted, however, to what may be termed the first degree of orders in the church of Scotland, that is, he was licensed to preach, and continued to preach occasionally for some time. He is said, indeed, to have been once domestic chaplain to John Hopkins, esq. of Bretons, near Rumford, in Essex, who had a regular service every Sunday in the chapel of the house; but there is reason to think he did not continue long in this situation, and that he returned home, as in Sept. 1742 he was appointed one of the professors of philosophy in the Marischal college. The duties of the philosophic professorship at that time included natural history, chronology, Greek and Roman antiquities, mechanics, optics, and astronomy, which were taught during three sessions, or years, to the same pupils. This system is now altered, but that My. Fordyce was well qualified for the above-mentioned laborious task was universally acknowledged.

licensed to preach in the church of Scotland, and in 1750 was chosen assistant to Mr. David Fordyce, professor of philosophy in the Marischal college at Aberdeen, and in two

, an eminent divine of the church of Scotland, eldest son of the rev. Gilbert Gerard, minister of Chapel-Garioch, in Aberdeenshire, was born there Feb. 22, 1728; he was educated partly at the parish school of Foveran, whence he was removed to the grammar-school at Aberdeen, after his father’s death. Here he made such rapid progress, that he was entered a student in Marischal-college when he was but twelve years of age. He devoted his first four years to the study of Greek, Latin, the mathematics, and philosophy, and was at the close of the course admitted to the degree of M. A. He now commenced his theological studies, whtch he prosecuted at the universities of Aberdeen and Edinburgh. Immediately on the completion of his twentieth year, in 1748, he was licensed to preach in the church of Scotland, and in 1750 was chosen assistant to Mr. David Fordyce, professor of philosophy in the Marischal college at Aberdeen, and in two years afterwards, upon the death of the professor, Gerard was appointed to succeed him. Here, after a short time, the department assigned to Mr. Gerard was confined to moral philosophy and logic, the duties of which he discharged with conscientious and unwearied diligence, and with equal success and reputation. He was a member of a literary society at Aberdeen, consisting of Drs. Blackwell, Gregory, Reid, Campbell, Beattie, &c. which met very regularly every fortnight during the winter, when the members communicated their sentiments with the utmost freedom, and received mutual improvement from their literary discussions; and hence originated those well-known works, Reid’s “Inquiry into the Human Mind” Gregory’s “Comparative View;” Gerard’s “Essay on Genius” Beattie’s “Essay on Truth” andCampbell’s “Philosophy of Rhetoric.” In 1759 Mr. Gerard was ordained a minister of the church of Scotland, and in the following year he was appointed professor of divinity in the Marischal college, and about the same period he took his degree of D. D. He continued to perform the several duties attached to his offices till 1771, when he resigned the professorship, together with the church living, and was preferred to the theological chair in the university of King’s-college, a situation which he held till his death, which happened on his birth-day, Feb. 22, 1795. Dr. Gerard’s attainments were solid rather than brilliant, the effect of close and almost incessant study, and a fine judgment. He had improved his memory to such a degree, that he could in little more than an hour get by heart a sermon of ordinary length. He was author of “An Essay on Taste,” which was published in 1759, and which obtained for him the prize of a gold medal, from the society of Edinburgh. This work was afterwards much enlarged, and reprinted in 17 So. His “Dissertations on the Genius and Evidences of Christianity,” published in 1766, are well known and highly appreciated; so also are his “Essay on Gesius,” and his sermons in 2 volumes. In 1799 his son and successor, Dr. Gilbert Gerard, gave the world a posthumous work of much merit, which had been left among the papers of his father, entitled “The Pastoral Care,” which made a part of his theological course of lectures. As a clergyman the conduct of Dr. Gerard was marked with prudence, exemplary manners, and the most punctual and diligent discharge of his ministerial duties; his sermons were simple and plain, adapted to the common class of hearers, but so accurate as to secure the approbation of the ablest judges. As a professor of divinity, his great aim was not to impose by his authority upon his pupils any favourite system of opinions; but to impress them with a sense of the importance of the ministerial office; to teach them the proper manner of discharging all its duties; and to enable them, by the knowledge of the scriptures, to form a just and impartial judgment on controverted subjects. Possessing large stores of theological knowledge, he was judicious in selecting his subjects, happy and successful in his manner of communicating instruction. He had the merit of introducing a new, and in many respects a better plan of theological education, than those on which it had formerly been conducted. Having a constant regard to whatever was practically useful, rather than to unedifying speculations, he enjoined no duty which he was unwilling to exemplify in his own conduct. In domestic life he was amiable and exemplary; in his friendships steady and disinterested, and in his intercourse with society, hospitable, benevolent, and unassuming; uniting to the decorum of the Christian pastor, the good breeding of a gentleman, and the cheerfulness, affability, and ease of an agreeable companion.

his brother, afterwards marshal Keith; and, in 1714, by the interest of the countess, was appointed professor of philosophy in the Marischal college. He did not long retain

, an ingenious burlesque poet of Scotland, was born in the parish of Midmar in Aberdeenshire, about 1688. He received a liberal education at the Marischal college in Aberdeen, and, after finishing his studies, became one of the teachers in the high-school of New Aberdeen. Thence he removed into the family of Marshal, to be preceptor to the young earl of that name, and his brother, afterwards marshal Keith; and, in 1714, by the interest of the countess, was appointed professor of philosophy in the Marischal college. He did not long retain this situation, for, when the rebellion broke out in 1715, he followed the fortunes of his noble patrons, who made him governor of Dunotter castle. After the defeat at Sheriffmuir, he lurked among the mountains, till the act of indemnity was passed, with a few fugitive companions, for whose amusement and his own, he composed several of the burlesque poems, which he called “Mother Grim’s tales.” He appears to have remained steady to his principles, and consequently was not restored to his professorship but, while the countess of Marshal lived, resided chiefly in her family where his great pleasantry and liveliness made him always an acceptable guest. After her death, he must have been for some time without much provision, till he commenced an academy at Elgin, in conjunction with his brother Mr. Samuel Meston. He was, however, little formed for prudence and regularity, but much more given to conviviality; for which cause probably, among others, this academy at Elgin after a time began to decline. He then successively settled at Turiff, in Aberdeenshire, and* at Montrose, where he lost his brother and coadjutor. He made the same attempt at Perth, but soon after entered as preceptor into the family of a Mr. Oliphant, Here he continued till his health declined, when he removed to Peterhead for the benefit of the mineral waters. There he was chiefly supported by the bounty of the countess of Errol, under whose patronage he had formerly undertaken the academy at TuriflF. At length he removed to Aberdeen, where he was taken care of by some relations, till he died of a languishing distemper in the spring of 1745.