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The Scottish Nation
Duncan


DUNCAN, a surname of Norwegian origin, ennobled in the person of Admiral, Viscount Duncan, in 1797, of whom a memoir is subsequently given below. The family of Duncan of Lundie in Forfarshire, to which he belonged, was a very ancient one, and originally was designated of Seaside. At what time the barony of Lundie came into the possession of the Duncans is not stated, but we find the family designed of Lundie before 1678. They had also the estate of Gourdie in the same county. One member of it, Sir William Duncan, M.D., an eminent physician of London, married Lady Mary Tufton, daughter of the earl of Thanet. Soon after their marriage they went to the East Indies, where Sir William realized a large fortune. On his return to London he became one of the physicians to his majesty, and was, in 1764, created a baronet, but the title became extinct at his death in 1774. Admiral Lord Duncan was his nephew. The father of the latter, Alexander Duncan of Lundie, provost of Dundee, distinguished himself by his attachment to the reigning family during the rebellion of 1745, and died in 1771. He married Helena, a daughter of Mr. Haldane of Gleneagles, Perthshire. [See HALDANE, surname of.] The admiral succeeded to the family estates on the death of his elder brother, Colonel Duncan, who died without issue in 1793. Two of Lord Duncan’s sons died before him in early youth, and he was succeeded in his titles and estates y the third and eldest surviving son, Robert Dundas Duncan-Haldane (the latter name being assumed from his maternal grandmother, having inherited her estate) second Viscount Duncan, born in 1785, and created in 1831, earl of Camperdown, from the place where the great victory of his father was gained. He married a daughter of Sir New Dalrymple Hamilton, baronet, with issue. His eldest son, Adam (named after his grandfather) Viscount Duncan, M.P., succeeded in 1859 as 2d earl. The 1st earl’s younger brother, Captain the Hon. Sir Henry Duncan, R.N., C.B., K.C.H., held the office of surveyor general of the ordnance, and died 1st November 1835.

      It is remarkable that the crest of the family, now borne over the arms of the earls of Camperdown, is a dismantled ship, intended to commemorate, according to heraldic tradition, the escape from shipwreck of an heir of Lundie, about two centuries since, who, while acting as supercargo on board a vessel bound from Norway to his native place, Dundee, was overtaken by a tremendous storm, in which the ship was dismantled, and with great difficulty reached its destined port.

DUNCAN I., King of Scots, “the gracious Duncan” of Shakspeare, succeeded his grandfather, Malcolm the Second, in 1033. He was the son of Bethoc, (or Beatrice) a daughter of King Malcolm, by Crinan, abbot of Dunkeld. In those early times, before Romish superstition and intrigue had introduced the law of the celibacy of the clergy into the church, the marriage of churchmen was allowed, and even down to the period of the reformation the dignity of a mitred abbot was equal to that of a bishop. Pinderton conjectures either that Crinan, Duncan’s father, was Malcolm’s minister of state, as was then usual for churchmen, who alone possessed such learning as the age afforded, or that his marriage with his daughter took place before Malcolm became king, and he gives a list of all the most conspicuous instances in history, of priests, abbots and bishops holding the highest state offices in the different countries to which they belonged, and of being princes, distinguished military leaders, and chief councillors of their respective sovereigns. [Pinkerton’s Inquiry, vol. ii. p. 194.] The dynasty of Kenneth Macalpine, which for so many generations had filled the Scottish throne, appears to have terminated with Malcolm, who was defeated and slain in a great battle, on the southern shore of the Beauly firth, by Thorfinn, a powerful Norwegian earl, styled in the Orkneyinga Saga the richest of all the earls of Orkney, possessing nine earldoms in Scotland, the whole of the Sudreys, and a large riki or district in Ireland. On the accession of Duncan there remained to the Scots north of the firths of Forth and Clyde, only the districts of Fife, Strathern, Menteith, Gowrie, and Lennox, with Athol and Argyle in the north. A considerable part of the territories of the northern Picts also remained unconquered by the Norwegians. During the whole of Duncan’s reign the Scots enjoyed almost uninterrupted tranquility. IN 1035, he is said by Simeon of Durham to have besieged that city without success. In 1039, taking advantage of the absence of Thorfinn in an English expedition, Duncan, with the view of recovering some of the territories of the Scots, of which they had been deprived by

the Norwegians, raised an army and advanced as far as Moray, without encountering any resistance. The Gaelic inhabitants of the north, however, had never admitted his right to the throne, although he was a chieftain of their own race, and under Macbeth, the maormor of Moray, they attacked him at Bothgowanan (in Gaelic, the Smith’s dwelling) near Elgin, defeated his army, and slew himself. This happened in 1040. Macbeth immediately seized the sceptre, which he claimed in right of his cousin Malcolm, and the two sons of Duncan, (he is said to have married the sister of Siward, earl of Northumberland) were obliged to fly. The elder, Malcolm, surnamed Canmore, took refuge in Northumberland, while the younger, Donald Bane, escaped to the Hebrides. [Skene’s Highlanders of Scotland, vol. i. p. 115.] The story of the assassination of Duncan, on which Shakspeare has founded his tragedy of Macbeth, appears to have been an invention of Hector Boece. Five years afterwards, Crinan, the aged abbot of Dunkeld, was slain in battle, in the attempt to revenge his son’s death and obtain the restoration of the throne to his grandchildren.

DUNCAN II., King of Scots, was the eldest of all the sons of Malcolm Canmore. His mother was Ingiobiorge, widow of Thorfinn, the Norwegian earl of Orkney mentioned in the preceding article. Historians generally have considered him an illegitimate son of Malcolm, but according to the Orkneyinga Saga, it would appear that his father married Ingiobiorge, (the princess Margaret, the sister of Edgar Atheling, being his second wife,) and therefore, by the Saxon rule of succession, on his father’s death in 1093, he had the best right to the throne. In accordance, however, with the Celtic laws of inheritance, which preferred brothers to sons, his uncle, Donald Bane, was considered to have a prior right to it, and by the aid of the Gaelic inhabitants and the men of the Hebrides, among whom he had spent most of his life, the latter was advanced to the sovereignty. Duncan had, in 1072, while yet a mere youth, been delivered to William the Conqueror, as a hostage for his father’s fidelity in maintaining peace with England, and in consequence received his education at the Norman court. By William Rufus he was invested with the honour of knighthood, and retained in his service. After the death of his father, assisted by that monarch, and accompanied by a numerous band of English and Norman adventurers, he advanced into Scotland in 1094, and expelling Donald Bane, made himself king. By Scottish historians Duncan is usually styled and treated as a usurper, and whether legitimate or illegitimate, he was undoubtedly considered so by the Celtic portion of Scotland, which continued firm in its allegiance to Donald Bane. To obtain the support of the native chiefs he unwisely consented to dismiss from the kingdom the English and Normans by whose aid he had succeeded in getting possession of the throne; but no sooner had he done so than the former attacked and slew him, after a short reign of little more than a year, replacing Donald on the throne. [Skene’s Highlanders of Scotland, vol. i. p. 126.] A half-brother of his own, named Edmund, third son of Malcolm Canmore by Queen Margaret, joined in the conspiracy against him; and it is stated that for his treachery he was to obtain a portion of the kingdom from his uncle, Donald Bane. At their instigation Duncan was assassinated by Malpedir, maormor of Moern. According to William of Malmesbury, Edmund, for his accession to the murder of his brother, was condemned to perpetual imprisonment, and being touched with remorse, on his deathbed he acknowledged the justice of his punishment, and in token of his repentance desired that he should be buried in his chains. Lord Hailes thinks that his imprisonment took place after the accession of his brother Edgar to the throne, and infers from this that Duncan was not a usurper, but a regent during the minority of the children of Malcolm, [Hailes’ Annals, vol. i. p. 46] but as the condition of Edmund’s assistance to Donald Bane’s project was a partition of the kingdom between them, it seems most likely that, on the success of their plot, it was the latter who threw Edmund into prison, to avoid fulfilling his part of the infamous compact.

      Duncan left a son, William, who had also a son named William, called the Boy of Egremont, who after the death of David the First, disputed the claim to the throne of his grandson Malcolm the Fourth, and was supported in his pretensions by the Gaelic or Scots part of the population. The Orkneyinga Saga states that “Ingiobiorg Jarslmoder (Earl’s-mother, or as it has been translated, ‘the mother of the earls’), widow of Earl Thorfinn, married Melkolf, king of Scotland, who was called Langhals (Malcolm Canmore, or Great Head), Their son was Dungad (Duncan) king of Scotland, the father of William, who was a good man. His son was William Odlinger, (the Noble,) whom all the Scots wished to take for their king,” There can be no doubt that this desire was expressed by the only constitutional body then existing in Scotland, namely, the earls of the seven provinces into which the country was at that period divided, when, in 1160, Ferquhard earl of Strathern, and five other of these earls conspired to seize the person of Malcolm, and place Duncan’s grandson on the throne in his stead. Winton mentions the Boy of Egremont as being among the conspirators on this occasion, as well as Gilleandres earl of Ross. [See Skene’s Highlanders of Scotland, vol. i. pp. 1261, 262, App.]

      In Anderson’s Diplomata is contained a charter (No. IV.) Granted by Duncan to the monks of St. Cuthbert, said to be the oldest original charter concerning Scotland now known. At the commencement of it he styles himself ‘Dunecanus filius Regis Malcolumb, contans herditarie Rex Scotie,’ and among the names with crosses subscribed to it are those of ‘Eadgari’ and ‘Malcolumb,’ whom he styles his brothers. Lord Hailes thinks it singular (Annals, vol. i. p. 45, note) that Edgar should have resided at the court of Duncan; but if Duncan was, as has been shown, no usurper, but the legitimate possessor of the throne, there is nothing surprising in the matter. As for Malcolumb, he deems him to have been a natural son of Malcolm the Third, but he was in fact the younger brother of Duncan, by his mother Ingiobiorge, and legitimate. Subjoined is a fac-simile of the seal of Duncan at this ancient charter, which seal is believed to be the oldest extant:


[seal of Duncan]

DUNCAN, MARK, an eminent professor of the sixteenth was the son of Thomas Duncan of Maxpoffle, Roxburghshire, and Janet, his wife, daughter of Patrick Oliphant of Sowdoun, in the same county. A manuscript account, preserved by an English branch of the family, states that he was the son of Alexander, and the grandson of John Andrew Duncan of Airdrie, if Fifeshire, and that he was born in London; but this statement is altogether erroneous. His birth is supposed to have taken place about 1570, and it is supposed that after laying the foundation of his great learning in Scotland, he completed his academical studies on the continent; but is not known in what university he took his degree of M.D. He was appointed professor of philosophy in the university of Saumur, in France, the chief seminary of the French protestants. Hare he attained to great celebrity, and by the publication in 1612 of his ‘Institutio Logica,’ he greatly extended his reputation as an acute and able logician. Of this work, which he dedicated to the celebrated Philip du Plessis Morney, there are at least three editions. Dr. Duncan married a French lady of good family, and to his academical labours he added the practice of physic, to his own profit and the increase of his reputation. From King James he received an invitation to England, his majesty transmitting to him, at the same time, a formal appointment as his own physician; but the reluctance of his wife to quit her native country prevented him from taking advantage of so promising a road to preferment. He was afterwards promoted to the office of principal of the university of Saumur, with which he retained his professorship of philosophy. IN 1634 he published, but without his name, a tract under the title of ‘Discours de la Possession des Religieuses Ursulines de Lodun,’ (64 pages 8vo) on the supposed possession of the Ursuline nuns of Loudun, on whose evidence, Urbain Grandier, curate and canon of Loudun, had the preceding year been committed to the flames, on a charge of sorcery exercised upon them. In this tract Dr. Duncan, at some risk to himself, exposed this infamous and cruel imposture. He died in 1640, regretted both by catholics and protestants. He had three sons and three daughters. The eldest son, Marl Duncan de Cerisantes, distinguished himself as a scholar, by the elegance of his Latin verses, and as a soldier by his well-tried courage, and he likewise rose to some eminence as a diplomatist. In 1641 he was sent as an envoy to Constantinople, and having afterwards entered the service of the queen of Sweden, he, in 1645, succeeded Grotius as her resident ambassador at the court of France. After he quitted the queen’s service, he renounced the protestant faith, and was employed by the French king to observe the conduct of the duke of Guise, during his expedition to Naples. In a general attack on the Spanish posts, he was wounded in the ankle by a musket ball, and died on the 28th or 29th of February 1648.

DUNCAN, WILLIAM, an ingenious critic and translator, was born at Aberdeen in July 1717. His father, William Duncan, was a tradesman in that city, and his mother, Eu0hemia Kirkwood, was the daughter of a farmer in Haddingtonshire. After receiving the rudiments of his education partly at the grammar school of Aberdeen, and partly at the boarding school at Foveran, kept by a Mr. Forbes, he finished his studies at the Marischal college of his native city, and in 1737 took his degree of M.A. He was originally destined for the church, but not liking the clerical profession, he removed to London, where he devoted himself to literature. He wrote ‘The Elements of Logic’ for Dodsley’s Preceptor, which was afterwards printed in a separate form in 1752, in which year he was appointed regius professor of philosophy in the Marischal college, Aberdeen. He was also the author of a faithful and elegant version of ‘Caesar’s Commentaries,’ rendered still more valuable by a learned preliminary discourse on the art of war among the ancients. He likewise translated those ‘Select Orations of cicero’ which occur in the common Dauphin edition, accompanied with judicious explanatory notes. He died unmarried, May 1, 1760, in the forty-third year of his age.

DUNCAN, ADAM, Viscount Duncan, a distinguished naval commander, was, as already stated, the second son of Alexander Duncan, Esq. of Lundie, Forfarshire, and was born at Dundee, of which town his father was provost, July 1, 1731. His mother was Helena Haldane, heiress of Gleneagles in Perthshire, lineally descended from Duncan earl of Lennox, who died in the year 1424. He received the rudiments of his education in his native town, and entered the navy in 1746, under his relative Captain Haldane, on board the Shoreham frigate, with whom he continued for about three years. He was next a midshipman in the Centurion of fifty guns, the flag-ship of Commodore, afterwards Lord Keppel, then appointed commander-in-chief on the Mediterranean station. In 1755 he was promoted to the rank of lieutenant and appointed to the Norwich, a fourth-rate of fifty guns, commanded by Captain, afterwards Admiral Barrington, one of the squadron under Keppel, sent out with troops to General Braddock, in consequence of the various encroachments of the French on the British settlements in North America. He returned to England in the Centurion, and remained on the home station for about three years. Appointed second lieutenant of the Torbay, of seventy-four guns, he proceeded in that ship on the expedition sent against the French settlement of Goree on the coast of Africa, where he was slightly wounded. Soon afterwards he became first lieutenant of the Torbay, in which capacity he returned to England. In September 1759 he was made master and commander, and on February 25, 1761, post captain, when he was appointed to the Valiant of seventy-four guns, on board of which Keppel hoisted his flag as commander of the expedition against the French island of Belleisle. In 1762 he served under Admiral Pococke at the reduction of the Havannah.

      He afterwards accompanied Keppel to the Jamaica station, where he remained till the conclusion of the war. In 1779 he commanded the Monarch, a seventy-four, which was one of those placed under the orders of Sir George Rodney, who sailed with a powerful squadron to the relief of Gibraltar, then closely blockaded by a Spanish army on the landside, and a strong flotilla by sea. On the 16th January 1780, the British fleet being then off Cape St. Vincent, fell in with a Spanish squadron of eleven ships of the line, commanded by Don Juan Augustin de Yardi, stationed there to intercept Rodney’s squadron, which was supposed to consist of no more than four ships of the line, having a fleet of victuallers and transports under their protection. Captain Duncan’s ship, the Monarch, although not remarkable as a swift sailer, was the first to get into action. On being warned of the danger he incurred by dashing so hastily amidst the enemy’s squadron, he replied with the utmost coolness, “Just what I want, I wish to be among them.” In a short time he found himself alongside the San Augustin, one of the Spanish ships of seventy guns, and much larger than the Monarch, while two others of similar rate and dimensions lay within musket shot to the leeward of him. After a short but animated resistance, the San Augustin struck her colours, while the other two ships had taken to flight. The prize was found to be not worth taking possession of, being too much shattered by the Monarch’s fire, and as it then blew hard, and the whole fleet was on a lee-shore, its crew were enabled to escape with it. In 1782 Captain Duncan was appointed to the Blenheim of ninety guns, with which ship he joined the Channel fleet under Lord Howe, and in the engagement which took place off the mouth of the straits of Gibraltar in October of the same year, with the combined fleets of France and Spain, he led the larboard division of the centre squadron. He was subsequently removed to the Edgar, seventy-four, a Portsmouth guard-ship.

      In September 1787 he was promoted to be rear-admiral of the blue, and on a second advancement of flag-officers, in 1790, he became rear-admiral in the white squadron. In February 1793 he was made vice-admiral of the blue, and in 1794 of the white. Hitherto his merit had been entirely overlooked by those in power, and although he had frequently solicited a command, he remained for years without being engaged in active service. At length, in February 1795, he was appointed commander of the fleet in the North seas, when he hoisted his flag on board the Venerable, of seventy-four guns, and on the 1st of the following June was promoted to the rank of admiral of the blue. At this period a large Dutch fleet was collected in the Texel, for the purpose of co-operating with the French general Hoche, who was waiting the first opportunity of invading Ireland, with forth thousand men. After a harassing service of two years occupied in watching this formidable armament, Admiral Duncan had the mortification in June 1797, to see the mutiny, which first commenced in the Channel fleet at Spithead, and then spread to the Nore, extend to almost all the ships under his command. On the 3d of that month he assembled the crew of his own ship, the Venerable, and addressed them in the following simple and pathetic words: “My lads, I once more call you together with a sorrowful heart, from what I have lately seen of the disaffection of the fleets: I call it disaffection, for they have no grievances. To be deserted by my fleet, in the face of an enemy, is a disgrace which I believe never before happened to a British admiral, nor could I have supposed it possible. My greatest comfort, under God, is that I have been supported by the officers and seamen of this ship, for which, with a heart overflowing with gratitude, I request you to accept my sincere thanks. I flatter myself much good may result from your example, by bringing these deluded people to a sense of the duty which they owe not only to their king and country, but to themselves. The British navy has ever been the support of that liberty which has been handed down to us by our ancestors, and which, I trust, we shall maintain to the latest posterity, and that can be done only by unanimity and obedience. The ship’s company, and others who have distinguished themselves by their loyalty and good order, deserve to be, and doubtless will be, the favourites of a grateful country. They will also have, from their inward feelings, a comfort which will be lasting, and not like the fleeting and false confidence of those who have swerved from their duty. It has often been my pride to look into the Texel, and see a foe which decided on coming out to meet us. My pride is now humbled indeed! My feelings are not easily to be expressed. Our cup has overflowed, and has made us wanton. The all-wise Providence has given us this check as a warning, and I hope we shall improve by it. On Him then let us trust, where our only security can be found. I find there are many good men among us; for my own part, I have had full confidence of all in this ship, and once more beg to express my approbation of your conduct. My God, who has thus far conducted you, continue to do so; and my the British navy, the glory and support of our country, be restored to its wonted splendour, and be not only the bulwark of Britain, but the terror of the world. But this can only be effected by a spirit of adherence to our duty, and obedience; and let us pray that the Almighty God may keep us in the right way of thinking; God bless you all!” The whole ship’s crew, dissolved in tears, declared their resolution to continue faithful to their duty, and, deserted as he was by every ship in the fleet except his own and the Adamant, he adopted the daring but successful expedient of blockading the passage from the Texel with the two ships, practising from time to time the ruse of making signals, as if his fleet had been in sight, instead of lying ingloriously inactive in the power of the mutineers. This stratagem served his purpose, till some of his misguided fleet joined him, and it was his declared resolution never to quit his post, nor permit the Dutch fleet to pass the narrow channel which he occupied, without the most determined resistance. On one occasion, information was brought to the admiral by one of the officers that the whole of the enemy’s fleet was in motion to force a passage. He immediately ordered the lead to be hove, and on hearing the depth of water, calmly replied, “Then when they have sunk us, my flag will still fly.” At length the deluded men returned to their duty, and not long after an opportunity was afforded them of retrieving their conduct and character in the decisive victory of Camperdown.

      The admiral’s ship had been eighteen weeks at sea, and several others had suffered much from recent gales, and were also in need of provisions and repairs. Thus circumstanced, the admiral put into Yarmouth roads on the 3d October 1797, to refit and revictual, leaving a squadron of observation on the Dutch coast. On the 9th information reached him that the enemy’s fleet was at sea. On the 11th at noon he brought them to close action off Camperdown, as they were seeking to regain their port, and gained one of the most glorious victories in the annals of naval heroism. At nine o’clock in the morning a signal was made by Captain Trollope, commanding the Russell, 74, that the enemy were to leeward. The admiral immediately bore up and made the signal for a general chase, and soon got sight of them forming on the larboard tack. “Finding,” says the admiral in his despatch, “there was no time to be lost in making the attack, I made the signal to bear up, break the enemy’s line, and engage them to leeward, each ship her opponent, by which I got between them and the land, whither they were fast approaching. My signals were obeyed with promptitude; and Vice-admiral Onslow, in the Monarch, bore down on the enemy’s rear in the most gallant manner, his division following his example, and the action commenced about 40 minutes past 12. The Venerable (the admiral’s own ship) soon got through the enemy’s line and began a close action, with my division on their van, which lasted two hours and a half.” The result was that of 15 sail of the line and 11 frigates and smaller vessels, of which the Dutch fleet consisted, nine of the line and two frigates were taken, including the Dutch admiral, the brave De Winter, and the vice-admiral. The English fleet consisted of 14 sail of the line, one frigate, and three or four cutters. The number of killed and wounded in this sanguinary battle was near 800 men. Captain Burgess of the Ardent fell early in the action, to whose memory a handsome monument has been erected in St. Paul’s Cathedral. This victory, so shortly after the most formidable mutiny that had ever occurred in the British navy had been subdued, was doubly gratifying, by proving that British seamen, after their grievances had been redressed, fought with the most loyal and heroic zeal for their king and country.

      Admiral Duncan arrived at the Nore on the 16th of October. A patent of baron of the United Kingdom had already been made out, though not signed, for his intrepid conduct during the mutiny at the Nore, but his title was now changed to that of viscount, and on the 17th he was raised to the peerage, by the title of Viscount Duncan of Camperdown and baron of Lundie, to which estate he had succeeded on the death of his elder brother. He also received the thanks of parliament and of the city of London, with a pension of two thousand pounds a-year to him and his two next heirs. The commanders were presented with gold medals, Vice-admiral Onslow was created a baronet, and the Captains Trollope and Fairfax, knights banerets. In 1799 he was created admiral of the white. His lordship retained the command of the North sea fleet till 1800, when he retired into private life. In 1804 he went to London, with the view of again offering his services against the enemies of his country, when a stroke of apoplexy, which seized him while attending at the admiralty, obliged him to hasten down to his family in Scotland. He died at Cornhill near Kelso, on his way home, in August 1804. He married, in 1777, one of the daughters of Robert Dundas, lord president of the court of session, and niece to Viscount Melville, by whom he had several children. He was succeeded by his eldest son, created at the coronation of William the Fourth, in 1831, earl of Camperdown. A portrait of Admiral Lord Duncan is below.


[portrait of Admiral Lord Duncan]

DUNCAN, ANDREW, senior, M.D., an eminent physician, was born at St. Andrews, October 17, 1744. After studying for the medical profession at the university of his native place, and at the college of Edinburgh, in the year 1768 he went on a voyage to China, as surgeon to the Hon. East India Company’s ship Asia. In October 1769 he received the diploma of M.D. from the university of St. Andrews, and in the following May was admitted a licentiate of the royal college of physicians, Edinburgh. During the sessions of 1774 and 1775 he delivered lectures on the theory of medicine in the university of Edinburgh, in the room of Dr. Drummond, and also illustrated the cases of poor patients labouring under chronic diseases, by giving clinical lectures. In June 1776, on Dr. James Gregory being appointed professor of the theory of medicine at Edinburgh, Dr. Duncan announced his intention of continuing his lectures independent of the university, which he did for a period of fourteen years. By his exertions, a public dispensary was, in 1776, erected in Richmond Street, on the south side of Edinburgh, in the hall of which his portrait is placed. In 1773 he commenced the publication of a periodical work, entitled ‘Medical and Philosophical Commentaries,’ which continued till 1795, when it had reached 20 volumes. He afterwards continued the work till 1804, under the title of ‘Annals of Medicine,’ after which it was conducted by his son, under the name of the ‘Edinburgh Medical and Surgical Journal.’ In 1790 Dr. Duncan was elected president of the college of physicians in Edinburgh, and shortly after professor of the Institutions of Medicine in that university. In 1792 he brought forward a plan for the erection of a Lunatic Asylum in the neighbourhood of Edinburgh; and a royal charter having been obtained in April 1807, a building was accordingly erected at Morningside. He was also the projectof of a scheme for the establishment of a horticultural society, and of a public experimental garden, both of which objects were at last successfully attained. In 1821 he was appointed first physician to the king for Scotland. Dr. Duncan died July 5, 1828, in his 84th year. Besides various valuable works in medical literature, he occasionally indulged in little effusions in verse, printed on slips of paper, and distributed amongst his friends. Of the Royal Medical Society of Edinburgh he was frequently elected president, and he was a member of several medical and philosophical societies both at home and abroad. His third son, General Alexander Duncan of Gatonside House, who distinguished himself in India, born in 1780, died in 1859. Dr. Duncan’s works are:

      Diss. de Alvi Purgantium natura et usu. 1770, 8vo.

      Observations on the Use and operations of Mercury in the Venereal Disease. Edin. 1772, 12mo.

      Elements of Therapeutics. Edin. 1770, 8vo. The same, Edin. 1772, 2 vols. 8vo.

      An Address to the Students of Medicine at Edinburgh, introductory to a course of Lectures on the Theory and Practice of Physic. Edin. 1776, 12mo.

      Heads of Lectures on the Theory and Practice of Medicine. Edin. 1776, 1780, 12mo. 4th edit. 1788, 8vo. enlarged.

      De laudibus Gulielmi Harveii, Oratio. Edin. 1777. 8vo.

      Medical Cases, selected from the Records of the Public Dispensary at Edinburgh; with Remarks and Observations. Edin. 1778, 8vo. 3d edit., 1784.

      Account of the Life and Writings of the late Alex. Monro, sen., M.D. Edin. 1780, 8vo.

      Letters to Dr. Robert Jones, respecting the case of Mr. Isaacson. Lond. 1782, 8vo.

      Lewis’ translation of Hoffman’s System of the Practice of Medicine, revised and completed. 1783, 2 vols. 8vo.

      Account of the late Dr. John Parsens. 1786, 8vo.

      An account of the good effects of Vitriolic Acid in the cure of obstinate Singultus. Med. Com. xiv. p. 371. 1789.

      Heads of Lectures on Medical Jurisprudence. Edin. 1792, 8vo. Reprinted, 1801, 8vo.

      Annals of Medicine (annually). 1794-1804, 9 vols. 8vo.

      History of a singular affection of the right leg, accompanied with Symptomatic Epilepsy, cured by the use of Galvanism. Annals of Med. viii. p. 339. 1803.

      Thomae Simsoni de re medica, dissertationes quatuor. 1810, 8vo.

      A Letter to Dr. Gregory of Edinburgh, in consequence of certain printed papers distributed by him. Edin. 1811, 8vo.

      Letter to His Majesty’s Sheriff-Depute in Scotland, recommending the establishment of Four National Asylums for the reception of Criminal and Pauper Lunatics. 1818.

      Observations on the distinguishing Symptoms of three different species of Pulmonary Consumption, the Catarrhal, the Apostematous, and the Tuberculous; with some remarks on the Remedies and Regimen best fitted for the prevention, removal, or alleviation of each species. Edin. 1813, 8vo. 2d edit. with Appendix on the preparation and use of Lactucarium, or Lettuce-opium. 1818, 8vo.

      Observations on a case of Diabetes Mellitus; with the history of the morbid appearances which were discovered on dissection. By A. Monro, jun. Ib. p. 388.

      Letter respecting the Influenza at Edinburgh, in the Spring of 1803. Ib. p. 437.

      Copy of a Memorial which was presented to the patrons of the University of Edinburgh in 1798, &c.

      A short view of the extent and importance of Medical Jurisprudence, considered as a branch of education; presented to the attention of his Majesty’s Ministers, by H. Erskine, in 1806, 4to.

      Heads of Lectures on the Institutions of Medicine. Edin. 1822, 8vo.

DUNCAN, ANDREW, junior, M.D., son of the preceding, was born at Edinburgh, August 10, 1773, and commenced the study of medicine in 1787. He received the degree of M.D. in 1794, and after spending some time in London, he proceeded to Germany, and entered himself a student at the university of Gottingen. He next made the tour of Italy and the principal German cities, visiting the hospitals and medical institutions, and becoming acquainted with the most celebrated men in the places through which he passed. When he returned to Edinburgh he became joint-editor with his father of the ‘Annals of Medicine,’ and subsequently re-visited the Continent, when he resided nine months at Pisa and Florence. On his return he settled at Edinburgh as a medical practitioner; was elected a fellow of the royal college of physicians, and soon after one of the physicians of the royal dispensary, founded by his father in 1776. In 1805 he became sole editor of the ‘Edinburgh Medical and Surgical Journal.’ His most valuable work, however, was the ‘Edinburgh Dispensatory,’ published in 1803, and early thereafter translated into the German, French, and other languages. By his exertions the chair of medical jurisprudence was instituted in the university of Edinburgh in 1807, and he himself was appointed the first professor. He was shortly afterwards elected secretary and librarian to the university; in 1819 he was appointed joint-professor with his father of the theory of medicine; and in 1821 he became professor of materia medica and pharmacy; distinguishing himself throughout by his unwearied devotedness to the duties of his chair, and his unquenchable zeal in the investigation of science. He died May 13, 1832. His works are:

      The Edinburgh New Dispensatory: containing, the Elements of Pharmaceutical Chemistry. 2. The Materia Medica. 3. The Pharmaceutical Preparatives and Compositions, & c. Illustrated and explained in the language, and according to the principles of modern Chemistry. With tables, plates, &c. Edin. 1803, 8vo. 2d edition, enlarged and much improved. 1804, 8vo. 3d edition, 1806, 8vo. 4th edition, 1808, 8vo. New edition improved. London, 1818, 8vo. Edin. 1822, 8vo. Supplement, 1829, 8vo. Another edition. Edin. 1830, 8vo.

      Tentamen inaugurale de Swietenia Soymida.

      Treatise on the diseases which are incident to Sheep in Scotland; drawn up from Original Commentaries presented to the Highland Society. Edin. 1807, 8vo.

      Reports of the Practice in the Chemical Wards of the Royal Infirmary, Edinburgh, during the months of Nov. and Dec. 1817; and Jan., May, June, and July, 1818, 8vo. 

DUNCAN, HENRY, D.D., the founder of savings banks in Scotland, was the third son of the minister of Lochrutton, Dumfries-shire, in the manse of which parish he was born, October 8th, 1774. His family, both on father’s and mother’s side, were connected with ministers settled in almost every part of Scotland. He was the descendant of a cadet of the family of Charteris of Amisfield, in Dumfries-shire, who being involved in the troubles of border warfare, had, early in the seventeenth century, fled to the Orkney islands, and changed his name to Duncan. At an early age he gave indications of superior talent, and was always fonder of reading than of play. Of an imaginative temperament, he loved the romantic solitudes of nature, and in his youth was addicted to writing verses, which were marked more by their vein of humour and sentiment than their poetical merit. He displayed also, we are told, at an early age, a considerable degree of mechanical ingenuity. He received his early education first at home, under a private tutor, and afterwards at Dumfries Academy, and in his fourteenth year was sent to the university of St. Andrews, where he continued two winters; but in consequence of a letter to his parents from his near relative, Dr. Currie of Liverpool, offering to procure him a situation in the banking house of Messrs. Heywood of that town, he proceeded to that place in the summer of 1790. Two of his brothers were already settled at Liverpool, and for nearly three years he remained in the bank to which he had been appointed, but having a strong desire to enter the ministry, he relinquished his situation, and repairing to the university of Edinburgh, joined Professor Dugald Stewart’s moral philosophy class, in November 1793. The remainder of his college studies were pursued partly in Glasgow and partly in Edinburgh. During his last two sessions in the latter city he was a member of the famous Speculative Society, having been admitted on March 28, 1797, and was a constant associate, among others, of Leyden and Brougham, the latter of whom, then a student in Edinburgh, became a member of the society the same year, and with him he maintained a friendly correspondence as long as he lived. His only essay while a member was one on the ‘Influence of Commerce on the situation and relations of Society.’

      In 1798, he was licensed to preach the gospel, and in the following year was presented by the earl of Mansfield, the patron, to the vacant parish of Ruthwell, in his native county. Dr. Duncan was one of the purest philanthropists that ever breathed, and on receipt of the presentation he generously surrendered the standing crop on the glebe, fifty acres in extent, to which he was entitled, to the widow and family of his predecessor, an act of liberality which gained for him, at the outset, the affections of the parishioners. In the long-continued scarcity which prevailed at the commencement of the present century, he obtained a cargo of Indian corn from Liverpool, where his brothers were in business as merchants, which he sold at prime cost to such of his parishioners as were able to pay, while to the poor among them he supplied it gratuitously. At other times, when meal was at a very high price, he has ordered rice from Liverpool, which he furnished to the people of his parish in the same manner. Indeed, in seasons of scarcity, his benevolence was unceasing. Often, when he had occasion to go into Dumfries, did he load his gig with small bundles of flax and wool for the female portion of his parishioners, and when they had converted it into yarn, he easily found a sale for it when he again returned to Dumfries.

      In 1803, when the spirit of patriotism, roused by the expected invasion of the French, became so strong throughout the kingdom that almost every one who could bear arms was eager to be a soldier, a company of volunteers was formed in the parish of Ruthwell, of which the parish minister, at the urgent desire of his parishioners, became captain, and regularly attended the first year’s training, which extended to a month. He once, while out on duty, actually preached in a portion of his regimentals, with his pulpit gown over all, in the new church of Dumfries, of which his brother was the minister. Feeling, however, the incongruity of his position as a clergyman, he soon resigned his commission as captain.

      In November 1804, Mr. Duncan married Miss Agnes Craig, the daughter of his predecessor, and while she recommenced at the manse those charitable attentions which, in early life, she had bestowed on the poor of the parish, he was forming schemes of a higher and more comprehensive benevolence. He began by instituting a friendly society for the benefit of the working classes. This was followed by the establishment of another society, on a similar basis, for the female portion of the parishioners. He soon established a parish library, and in 1808 commenced the publication of ‘The Scottish Cheap Repository,’ a series of tracts addressed to the humbler classes. This was one of the earliest attempts in Scotland in the department of popular literature, and its success was extraordinary. In 1809, with three other individuals, he started the Dumfries Courier newspaper, of which he was for several years principal editor, previous to Mr. M’Diarmid being appointed to its management.

      Although thus actively engaged, he did not neglect his clerical and ministerial duties. It was owing to his active efforts that an auxiliary Bible society was formed in Dumfries, in 25th February, 1810, under the presidency of the duke of Buccleuch, and in 1814 a missionary society was formed of which Mr. Duncan himself was chosen first president. In the beginning of 1810 he first turned his attention to the erection of an economical bank for the savings of the industrious, and to the working out of such a scheme his three years’ occupation in Liverpool as a banker admirably fitted him. Particular circumstances connected with the state of the poor of Dumfries and its neighbourhood, and especially a desire to avert the introduction of poor rates, had induced him to publish several letters on the subject in the Dumfries Courier, and whilst engaged in the necessary investigations, he had an opportunity of consulting some books and pamphlets lent to him by Mr. Erskine, afterwards earl of Mar, among which he found an ingenious paper giving an account of a scheme proposed by John Bone, Esq., of London, for gradually abolishing poor rates in England, in a subordinate provision of which he found the germ of the idea that he afterwards so successfully brought into operation. He immediately published a paper proposing to the county gentleman the establishment of banks for savings in the different parishes of the district, and containing a sketch of rules and regulations for conducting them. He did not, however, confine himself to a mere recommendation in the newspaper, but took immediate measures for giving a proof of its practicability and usefulness by the establishment of a bank, on this plan, in his own parish. Its success soon began to attract public attention, and meetings were held in various parts of the country for the institution of similar societies. These being for the most part formed in accordance with the Ruthwell rules, Mr. Duncan was kept almost incessantly employed in detailing the fruits of his experience, or giving the benefit of his advice. An act of parliament being applied for, during the session of 1819, in favour of savings banks, he was invited to London, and the success of that measure was mainly owing to his unwearied exertions in the matter. The draft of the bill had originally been drawn up by himself.

      As an antiquary and geologist, Dr. Duncan also acquired some distinction, by the preservation of a remarkable Runic cross, in the manse garden of Ruthwell, a description of which he gave in his Statistical Account of the parish, and also furnished a masterly paper on the subject to the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, as a corresponding member of that body in the year 1832, for which he received the special thanks of the society; and by his discovery in 1827, of the traces of extinct four-footed animals in the new red sandstone of Dumfries-shire, which Dr. Buckland, in a letter to him, declared to be “one of the most curious and most important that has ever been made in geology.” In reference to Dr. Duncan’s merit in this discovery, Dr. Chalmers has left his testimony in the following terms: “He was,” he says, “not only the first to point out traces of now extinct animals on the strata of former eras, but he at once also appreciated the importance of these traces as geological phenomena.”

      In November 1823, the university of St. Andrews conferred on him the degree of D.D. Holding a distinguished name in the church, although he seldom took any prominent part in the discussions of the church courts, he was in the summer of 1836 elected moderator of the General Assembly. At the public breakfasts given officially by the moderator he introduced the practice of inviting the guests half-an-hour earlier, to join in social prayer, a practice which has ever since been maintained. At the Disruption in 1843, he quitted the established church, and in the face of many difficulties, commenced a Free church in the neighbourhood of Ruthwell. the physical and mental exertions connected with that movement, combined with his advanced age, to exhaust his energies. While expounding at a private meeting of his people, he was, on 12th February 1846, seized with paralysis, and died in a few days.

      Dr. Duncan was twice married. By his first wife, who died in January 1832, he had two sons and a daughter, the latter married to the Rev. James Dodds, Free church minister at Belhaven. The elder son, the Rev. George John C. Duncan, formerly minister of Kirkpatrick-Durham, subsequently presbyterian minister at North Shields, published, in 1848, a Memoir of his father, with a portrait, and a vignette etching of Ruthwell manse. The younger son, the Rev. William Wallace Duncan, at one time minister of Cleish, and afterwards of the Free church, Peebles, married Mary Lundie, daughter of the Rev. Robert Lundie, of Kelso, an interesting life of whom by her mother, under the title of ‘Memoirs of Mary Lundie Duncan,’ was published soon after her death in 1840. Dr. Duncan’s second wife, (whom he married in October 1836,) was Mrs. Lundie, the mother of his daughter-in-law, and widow of the minister of Kelso. Besides the Memoirs of her daughter, Mrs. Duncan also published a work in foolscap 8vo. entitled “Missionary Life in Samoa; as exhibited in the Journals of George Archibald Lundie, during the revival in Tutuila in 1840-41.”

      As a popular writer Dr. Duncan acquired great reputation in his lifetime. His works are:

      The Scottish Cheap Repository. Commenced in 1808.

      The Scottish Fireside, or Parish Schoolmaster.

      An Essay on the Nature and Advantages of Parish Banks, 1815. The first of the Treatises which called pubic attention to the important subject of Savings Banks.

      The South Country Weaver; written to imbue the minds of the people with feelings of attachment to the institutions of the country during the troublous times of the radical insurrection in 1819. Edin. 1819.

      Account of the Tracks and Footmarks of Animals found impressed on the Sandstone of Dumfries-shire. Royal Society Edin. Trans. vol. xi.

      Letter to W.R.K. Douglas, Esq. M.P. 9(afterwards Lord William Douglas) on the Expediency of the Bill brought by him into Parliament for the Protection and Encouragement of Savings’ Banks in Scotland. Edin. 1819.

      A Letter to the Managers of Banks for Savings in Scotland, comprehending some observations on the parish bank act and hints for framing the rules of Institutions taking the benefit of the Statute; with an Appendix, containing a copy of the Act, and a Schedule explaining the Rules of Succession to Moveable Property by the Law of Scotland. Edin. 1819.

      Letters addressed to W.R.K. Douglas, Esq., M.P., advocating the Abolition of Commercial Restrictions. 1820.

      William Douglas, or the Scottish Exiles; composed with the design of exhibiting a just view of the character and principles of the Covenanters, in opposition to Scott’s ‘Old Mortality.’ 3 vols. 8vo. Edin. 1826. Anonymous.

      Letters on the West India Question, addressed to Sir George Murray then Colonial Secretary; first published in the Dumfries Courier under the name of Presbyter. London, 1830.

      Paper on a Remarkable Runic Monument in the Trans. of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, accompanied by a drawing of each of the four sides of the column, and of the pedestal of a baptismal font, believed to have some connexion with it. 1832.

      Sacred Philosophy of the Seasons, illustrating the Perfections of God in the Phenomena of the Year. Edin. 1837. 4 vols. 12mo.

      To Dr. Brewster’s Edinburgh Encyclopedia he furnished the articles Blair and Blacklock *(Dr. Blacklock, the poet being his granduncle). He was also a contributor to the Christian Instructor, when conducted by the Rev. Dr. Andrew Thomson.

DUNCAN, JOHN, an enterprising traveller in Africa, was the son of a small farmer in the county of Wigton. At an early age he enlisted in the first regiment of life-guards, in which he served with credit for eighteen years. About the year 1840 he was discharged with a high character for good conduct. In the voyage to the Niger, in 1842, Mr. Duncan was appointed armourer, and during the progress of that ill-fated expedition, he held a conspicuous place in all the treaties made by the commissioners with the native chiefs. He returned to England, one of the remnant of the expedition, with a frightful wound in his leg, and a shattered body, from which he long suffered. With the return of health, however, came a renewed desire to explore Africa, and under the auspices of the council of the geographical society, he stated, in the summer of 1844, not without substantial proofs from many of the members, of the interest they took in his perilous undertaking. The particulars of his journey along the coast until his arrival in Dahomey, were detailed in letters to his friends, and published in the ‘Geographical Society’s Journal’ of that period. From Dahomey he again returned to the coast, having traversed a portion of country hitherto untrodden by any European, but broken down in health, and in extreme suffering, from the old wound in his leg. Apprehensive that mortification had commenced, he at one time made preparations for cutting off his own limb, a fact which displayed his great resolution. All these journeys were undertaken on a very slenderly furnished purse, which, on his arrival at Shydah, was so totally exhausted that he was compelled to place himself in “pawn,” as he expressed it, for advances which would take years of labour on the coast to liquidate. From that disagreeable position his friends of the Geographical society soon relieved him, by an ample subscription, with which he proposed to make the journey from Cape Coast to Timbuctoo, but the state of his health compelled him to return to England. He was subsequently appointed by government vice-consul to Dahomey, for which place he was on his way when his death took place, on the 3d November 1849, on board her majesty’s ship Kingfisher, in the Bight of Benin. The hopes which were entertained that, from his influence with the native chiefs, and more especially with the king of Dahomey, an effectual check might be put to the slave trade on that part of the coast, were entirely frustrated by his untimely death. Although without much education, Mr. Duncan was a man of much observation, and strong natural good sense, and under all his trials and hardships displayed a courage and spirit of endurance worthy of all respect. He left a widow but poorly provided for.

DUNCAN, THOMAS, an eminent artist, was born on the 24th May, 1807, at Kinclaven in Perthshire. He was educated at Perth, to which city his parents had removed shortly after his birth. He early showed a love for art by employing every leisure moment in drawing such objects as struck his fancy, especially the portraits of his young companions; one of whom, of the name of Findlater, he portrayed in full length, in the character of MacIvor in Waverley, and this portrait was thought so highly of, that it was exhibited for some time in a bookseller’s shop window. While yet at school, he painted the whole of the scenery for a dramatic representation of ‘Rob Roy,’ which he, in conjunction with his school-fellows, undertook to perform in a stable-loft. His parents, however, placed him in the office of a writer in Perth, with whom he served the usual term of seven years. After the expiration of his engagement, more than ever anxious to become an artist, he at length procured the consent of his father to his visiting Edinburgh, where he was placed under the able instruction of Sir William Allan, afterwards president of the Scottish academy. His pre-eminent talent speedily developed itself. He made rapid progress, and soon outstripped all his competitors in that most difficult department, – the drawing of the human figure. The picture that first brought him into notice was his ‘Milkmaid,’ and shortly afterwards he exhibited his ‘Old Mortality,’ and the ‘Bra’ Wooer.’ The correct drawing, fine feeling, and masterly execution of these early works gave the most promising assurance of the future excellence of the artist, and his progress, from this time, was one of uninterrupted improvement; so much so as to cause him to be appointed, at an unusually early age, to the professorship of colour in the Edinburgh Academy, and subsequently to the chair of drawing in the same school. He was likewise enrolled among the members of that body. Having completed an interesting historical work, ‘Prince Charles Edward and the Highlanders entering Edinburgh after the battle of Prestonpans,’ he sent it, in 1840, to London for exhibition in the Royal Academy, and it at once brought him into the most favourable notice in England. An admirable engraving of this fine picture by Mr. Bacon, made it generally known. In 1841 Mr. Duncan exhibited a most touching picture from the ballad of ‘Auld Robin Gray,’ termed the ‘Waefu’ Heart;’ in the following year, ‘Deer-Stalking;’ and in 1843, ‘Charles Edward asleep after the battle of Culloden, protected by Flora M’Donald.’ The latter picture combined, in the highest degree, the great characteristics of excellence, composition, and chiaro’-scuro. It was engraved by Mr. Ryall. In the year last mentioned Mr. Duncan was elected an associate of the Royal Academy. In 1844 his contributions to the exhibition were ‘Cupid,’ and ‘The Martyrdom of John Brown of Priesthill, in 1685.’ These were the last pictures by him exhibited in London, excepting a portrait of himself, which, to the honour of the Scottish artists, it may be mentioned, was purchased by subscription, and presented by them to the Scottish Academy. Mr. Duncan died on the 25th of May, 1845, at the early age of 38. He gave fair promise, had he lived, to have attained a lofty position as an historical painter. His portraits were distinguished for faithfulness and skill. As a colourist, indeed, he had few superiors. As an instructor of his art, he was kind, conciliatory, and anxious for the improvement of his pupils, and in every relation of domestic life he continued to secure the esteem and affection of all around him.


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