Imágenes de páginas

act with the slightest approach to severity; and yet he never failed to maintain discipline, to reprove fault, or to check irregularity. He animated zeal, excited energy, and aimed at perfecting discipline, by always appealing to the nobler and the better feelings that prevail in the soldier's character. His influence extended beyond the branch of the service he controlled ; his name was a passport every where, and was held in such universal respect, that it imposed emulation of good deeds on all who belonged to him; and the conduct and acts of his sons, however they might reflect on him, were thought of but as a matter of course in them: even at the period of Lieut.-Colonel Macleod's fall at Badajoz, his loss as the son was almost as universally felt as in that of the brilliant officer commanding a distinguished corps. Sir John Macleod's highest praises, however, are those which cannot be told the world. Our private character is always best known and judged by that of our associates and friends; his were among the great and the good. Honoured by his sovereign, respected by all ranks of the army, loved by his friends, and revered by his family, his private life afforded an example to all who love goodness, honour, and benevolence, while his professional career ever pointed to the highest and noblest attainments by which we can serve our country.

From “ The United Service Journal.”






Among the many examples which Scotland has afforded of obscure and unpatronised talent overcoming every obstacle, and rising to eminence by its own native force, the late Dr. David Scot, Professor of Oriental Languages in St. Andrew's, and formerly minister of Corstorphine, may be reckoned one. With nothing to cheer him on in his arduous struggles but an insatiable desire for knowledge, he gained ultimately, by his persevering and indefatigable industry, a name and a reputation as a scholar, particularly as an Oriental linguist, which has seldom been equalled in that country, and which will long reflect honour on the church of Scotland.

Dr. Scot's parentage was humble; he was a native of the parish of Penicuick, where his father was a small farmer : but he seems to have been a man of more talent than generally belongs to that rank of life; for he wrote and published a pamphlet, under the signature of a “ Penicuick Ploughman," directed against the Dissenters of the day, and especially against Gibb, the well-known author of the “ Display,” a book in which the sentiments of the sect were embodied.

As a matter of course, Dr. Scot was sent to the parish school, where he soon distinguished himself by the eagerness of his application, as well as by the superiority of his abilities. At the University of Edinburgh his diligence and

success were such as to attract the attention both of the professors and of his fellow-students. After going through the usual curriculum, and the preliminary trials required by the laws of the church, which he passed with the utmost credit to himself, he was licensed as a preacher by the presbytery of Edinburgh. He had now attained the summit of his wishes, and reached that station which the Scottish peasantry consider as the most sacred and honourable that their sons can occupy. But no kind patron had discernment enough to discover his great merits, or was generous enough to offer him that preferment in the church which he so highly deserved, but which he was too modest to solicit.

Seeing no immediate chance of promotion in the profession for which he had qualified himself, he became a student of medicine, and obtained the degree of M.D. in the University of Edinburgh. But as languages were his favourite study, he applied himself to the cultivation of Oriental literature, for which he was already prepared by his intimate knowledge of the Hebrew. In these pursuits he had the fortune to be the fellow-student of Drs. Leyden and Murray, the two most eminent philologists that this or perhaps any country ever produced. For the purpose of acquiring a correct pronunciation of Hindostanee and Persic, he took lessons in these tongues from Dr. Borthwick Gilchrist, who, from his long residence in the East, was well qualified to give instruction on these points. Having now made himself master of most of the Eastern languages, both ancient and modern, including Syriac, Ethiopic, Arabic, and some knowledge of the Sanscrit, Dr. Scot directed himself to the important business of teaching and preparing young men intending to go out to India. In this department he was eminently successful, and many of his pupils made a distinguished figure not only at the Company's colleges in England, but in our civil and military services in Hindostan.

Among others whom he taught were some of the family of the late Sir John Marjoribanks of Lees, Bart., and so highly pleased was that gentleman with Dr. Scot's acquirements, as

well as with the successful manner in which he had discharged his duty to his sons, that he determined, if in his power, to provide him with a living in the church. When the Hebrew chair in the University of Edinburgh became vacant in 1812 by the death of Dr. Moodie, Dr. Scot offered himself as a candidate, and had, we believe, the influence of his friend Sir John; but so high was the fame of Dr. Murray at that time, that no opposition or rivalry could hope to succeed. But it so happened, that the church of Corstorphine, in the neighbourhood of Edinburgh, became vacant, a year or two after, by the death of Mr. Oliver; and, chiefly by the friendly exertions of the honourable baronet already named, Dr. Scot was presented to that parish, after he had remained for more than eighteen years an unpatronised and unprovided preacher. In this charge he continued to labour for nineteen years, gaining the esteem of his people not more by his simple, unaffected style of preaching, than by his modest, unassuming manners.

About two years ago, an opportunity offered for resuming those literary pursuits connected with Oriental languages, to which he was ardently addicted, in the vacancy that had then taken place in the Hebrew chair of St. Mary's College, at St. Andrew's. Of the various candidates for the situation, Dr. Scot was selected, as possessing the highest and most undisputed qualifications; and seldom has patronage been more justly merited, or better bestowed. His appointment infused a considerable degree of enthusiasm among the young men of that university for the study of Oriental literature; but unfortunately his career was short, as he was spared to discharge the duties of his office only for two sessions. Ever fond of learning in all its branches, he visited Edinburgh to be present at the late meeting of the British Association; but was immediately seized with a dropsical complaint, and, after two or three days' illness, died on Thursday, September 18th, 1834.

Dr. Scot was well-known to the literary world by his various publications. When a learned editor was sought for

[ocr errors]

giving to the public Dr. Murray's History of the European Languages, Dr. Scot was the person unanimously fixed upon to execute that important task; and it is universally allowed that he performed it with much credit to himself, justice to the memory of the author, and benefit to the public at large. Besides this, Dr. Scot published Essays on Belles Lettres, and Lives of some of the Scottish Poets; a Key to the Hebrew Pentateuch; another to the Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Song of Solomon; works admirably fitted for the Hebrew student, and affording great facilities to the speedy and correct understanding of the Hebrew Scriptures. He also. published a Hebrew Grammar for the use of his own class, which, for the simplicity of its arrangement, is well adapted for beginners. One curious fact attending this work is, that it was never committed to writing, having been all dictated extempore to the printers by the author, so familiar was his acquaintance with that ancient language. But, perhaps, he is better known to the general reader by his volume of sermons which he published a few years ago. They are entitled “ Discourses on some important Subjects of Natural and Revealed Religion, introduced by a short View of the best Specimens of Pulpit Eloquence given to the World in Ancient and Modern Times.” These discourses are of very high excellence; there runs through them a rich vein of sound Christian doctrine and scriptural morality. They are often rich in illustration, powerful in language, and not unfrequently rise to the height of positive eloquence. The inspection of the volume will far more than bear out any thing here said in its recommendation. His mode of lecturing was of a most interesting kind. His knowledge of the Scriptures was extensive and critical in no common degree; and in the elucidation of difficult texts, by bringing his knowledge of the original languages, and the lights of criticism and antiquity to bear upon them, he was instructive and edifying in no ordinary manner.

In this latter department of public teaching he particularly excelled. The whole bent of his mind, and the nature of his studies, fitted him eminently for it. He had


« AnteriorContinuar »