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W. G. Blaikie

revised by S. R. J. Baudry

Dodds, James (1813–1874), public lecturer and poet, was born on 6 February 1813 at Softlaw, near Kelso, Roxburghshire, the illegitimate son of Christian Dodds. James was brought up by his grandfather, a member of the Secession church, for whose humble, pious, and proselytizing character he had a lifelong admiration. From his earliest years he showed great abilities, a very impulsive and imaginative nature, and a daring, and sometimes adventurous, spirit. He was enabled through the sponsorship of friends to attend the ...


James Ferguson (1710–1776) by Robert Stewart, pubd 1776 (after John Townsend) © National Portrait Gallery, London


Ferguson, James (1710–1776), lecturer on natural philosophy and inventor of scientific instruments, was born on 25 April 1710 at Core of Mayen, Rothiemay, Banffshire, the second of at least six children of John Ferguson, a farmworker renting a smallholding, and his wife, Elspeth Lobban...


Maccall, William (1812–1888), writer and public lecturer, was born in Largs, Ayrshire, on 25 February 1812, the eldest child of six sons and six daughters of John Maccall (b. 1793), a builder, and his wife, Elizabeth Murdoch (b. 1792). He later told the biographer ...


Peat, Thomas (1707/8–1780), lecturer on science and almanac editor, was born at Ashleyhay, near Wirksworth, Derbyshire, the son of a farmer. He soon showed an inclination for learning, which his father tried to repress. A brother, a joiner in Nottingham, to whom he became apprenticed, gave him no more encouragement. However, ...