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The Scottish Nation

CARSON, AGLIONBY ROSS, M.A., LL.D., rector of the High School of Edinburgh, a classical scholar of reputation, was born at Holywood, Dumfries-shire, in the year 1780. He received the elements of his classical education in the endowed school of Wallace Hall, in the neighbouring parish of Closeburn; in which institution he subsequently acted as an assistant teacher. In 1797he entered the university of Edinburgh; and from May 1799, till October 1800, acted as assistant to Mr. John Taylor, of the grammar school, Musselburgh. He was enrolled a student of divinity in the university of Edinburgh in 1799. The grammar school of Dumfries having become vacant by the removal of Mr. Gray to Edinburgh, Mr. Carson was unanimously elected his successor, on the 15th of October, 1801. In January 1806, in consequence of Mr. Christison’s promotion to the chair of humanity in Edinburgh, Mr. Carson obtained a mastership in the High School. In 1820, when Mr. Pillans vacated the rector’s chair, in consequence of having succeeded Professor Christison in the university, the patrons of the High School placed Mr. Carson t the head of the school. His appointment as rector took place on the 20th August, 1820. He had, three months prior, declined acceptance of the Greek professorship in the university of St. Andrews, to which, though not a candidate, he had been elected. Six years afterwards, that university, in token of his great learning, conferred on him the degree of LL.D. On the 9th of October, 1845, he found it necessary, on account of the precarious state of his health, to tender his resignation as rector of the High School into the hands of the patrons. On this occasion the magistrates and council testified their appreciation of his long and faithful services by settling upon him an annuity for life of a hundred pounds. At a meting of his colleagues, a series of resolutions were passed, expressive of their deep regret at his resignation of rector, and bearing testimony to the merit, acumen, and profundity of his contributions to critical literature – especially in regard to his treatise on the Latin relative. The resolutions also spoke of his long, laborious, and valuable services in the High School, and his popularity as a teacher. They characterized him as a man of unobtrusive worth – endowed with rare powers of instruction, and as possessing a playful manner even in matters of discipline, while he maintained order by the gentlest means.

      A half-length portrait of Dr. Carson, painted in 1833 by Watson Gordon, Esq., president of the Royal Society of Arts, ornaments the hall of the High School, of which the following is a woodcut:

The expense was defrayed by a subscription by several of his pupils, and was presented to the school by Dr. Balfour.

      He was succeeded in the office of rector of the High School, on the 16th of December, 1845, by Dr. L. Schmitz, a native of Eupen, a village near Aix-la-Chapelle, in the Rhenish province of Prussia. Dr. Carson died at Edinburgh on the 4th November 1850. – Dr. Steven’s History of the High School.

      Dr. Carson’s contributions to literature are, an edition of ‘Phaedrus,’ ‘Mair’s Introduction,’ ‘Turner’s Grammatical Exercises,’ and particularly an edition of ‘Tacitus,’ all of which, especially the last, are highly valued.

      Of the excellence of his work entitled ‘The Relative, Qui, Quae, Quod,’ ample testimony is borne by its universal adoption as a guide to the tyro.

      He also contributed largely to the ‘Classical Journal,’ the ‘Scottish Review,’ and the ‘Encyclopaedia Britannica.’

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