learned divine of the Church of Scotland, and ingenious writer on polite
literature, eldest son of the Rev. Gilbert Gerard, minister of Chapel
Garioch, Aberdeenshire, was born there February 22, 1728. He received
the rudiments of his education first at the parish school of Foveran,
and afterwards at the grammar school of Aberdeen, whither he was removed
on the death of his father, when he was only ten years of age, and two
years later was entered a student at Marischal college. He took the
degree of M.A. in 1744, and immediately commenced his theological
studies in the divinity hall of Aberdeen, which he afterwards completed
in the university of Edinburgh. In 1748 he was licensed to preach the
gospel, and in 1750 he was appointed to lecture on natural philosophy in
Marischal college, Aberdeen, in the room of Professor David Fordyce, who
had gone on a visit to the Continent. Two years thereafter, on that
gentleman being unfortunately drowned on the coast of Holland on his
return home, Mr. Gerard succeeded to the vacant chair. He had the merit
of introducing into the university an improved plan of theological
education, and, in 1755, printed at Aberdeen a well-written pamphlet on
the subject, which he had drawn up by order of the faculty of his
college. In 1756 he gained the prize of a gold medal offered by the
Philosophical Society of Edinburgh for the best ‘Essay on Taste,’ which
he afterwards published. He belonged to a literary society at Aberdeen,
which numbered among its members Drs. Blackwell, Gregory, Reid,
Campbell, and Beattie, men who not only raised the character of te
university which they adorned, but shed a lustre on the literature of
In 1759 Mr.
Gerard was ordained minister of Greyfriars church, Aberdeen; in 1760 he
was chosen professor of divinity in the Marischal college, and about the
same period he took his degree of D.D. Having, in 1771, resigned both
his church, and his professorship in Marischal college, he was preferred
to the theological chair in King’s college, Old Aberdeen, where he
remained till his death, on his 67th birthday, February 22,
1795. His funeral sermon was preached by his friend and pupil, Dr. Skene
Ogilvy of Old Aberdeen.
His works are:
An Essay on
Taste. Lond. 1759, 8vo.
Sermon, on Ezek. xxxvi. 32. 1759, 8vo.
A Sermon on
Titus i. 7. 1760, 8vo.
of the Pastoral Office on the Character examined; with a view especially
to Mr. Hume’s representation of the Spirit of that Office; a Sermon.
Lond. 1760, 8vo.
On 1 Peter ii.
16. 1761, 1778, 8vo.
on subjects relating to the Genius and the Evidences of Christianity.
Edin. 1766, 1767, 8vo.
An Essay on
Genius; treating of its nature, of the general sources, of the varieties
of genius in the imagination, memory, judgment, &c. Lond. 1767, 1774,
Piety on the Public Good; on Deut. Vi. 24. 1776, 12mo.
Cloak of Maliciousness, both in the American Rebellion and in the
manners of the times; a Fast Sermon, London, 1778, 8vo.
Sermons on various subjects. Lond. 1780-2, 2 vols. 8vo.
Care. Lond. 1799, 8vo. Edited by his son, Dr. Gilbert Gerard.
an eminent divine, son of the preceding, born in Aberdeen on August 12,
1760, was educated for the ministry of the church of Scotland. At the
age of twenty-two, he went to Holland, as minister of the Scottish
church at Amsterdam, where he remained for several years, and during his
residence there, assisted by two literary friends, he wrote and edited a
Dutch periodical, called ‘De Recensent,’ He also contributed to the
‘Analytical Review,’ principally articles on foreign literature. While
still resident in Amsterdam, the university of his native city conferred
on him the degree of D.D. In April 1791, he returned to Scotland, and
soon after obtained the vacant professorship of Greek at King’s college,
Old Aberdeen. In 1795 he succeeded his father as professor of divinity
in the same college; and in 1811 he was appointed to the second charge
of the collegiate church of Old Machar. He also acted as master of
mortifications for King’s college, and was appointed one of the royal
chaplains for Scotland. Dr. Gerard died suddenly, September 28, 1815. –
His works are:
Indifference with regard to religious truths; a Sermon. Lond. 1797, 8vo.
Biblical Criticism, being the heads of his course of lectures on that
subject. Lond. 1806, 1808, 8vo. This work, styled by the Biographie
Universelle, a work full of erudition, and written in a good spirit,
was dedicated to Dr. Herbert Marsh, afterwards bishop of Peterborough.
a distinguished scientific traveller, son of the preceding, was born in
Aberdeen, and at the early age of sixteen went out to India. Not long
afterwards he was sent by Sir David Ochterlony to survey Malacca, a
survey which he executed with great accuracy, mostly at mid-day under a
burning sun. He held the rank of captain in the East India Company’s
service, and during a period of above twenty years was employed in
exploring, surveying, and mapping the northern districts of India,
having been selected by the Bengal government for the purpose, on
account of his acknowledged skill in those departments of professional
duty. He was in particular appointed to many of the surveys which were
deemed difficult and important, and this led to his residing for many
years in the then almost unknown district of Chinese Tartary, and
amongst the mountains of the Himalaya. He traversed those gigantic
regions in paths before untrodden by any European, and attained heights
which had previously been deemed inaccessible. At one part he ascended
above 20,000 feet, and by ways steeper than it had been deemed possible
to climb. In these excursions he suffered the extremes of heat, cold,
and hunger, and endured privations of every description. And it was not
until his health had been completely sacrificed that he could be
persuaded to abandon his labours and return to his native country.
in his exploratory expeditions, Captain Gerard made patient researches
not only into the customs and antiquities of the tribes he encountered
in his travels, but also into the geology and natural history of the
districts through which he passed. The Himalaya mountains are inhabited
at extraordinary altitudes; he found cultivated fields and crops of corn
at heights of from fourteen to sixteen thousand feet above the level of
the sea; and flocks of sheep, and tribes of Tartar shepherds, with their
dogs and horses, obtain subsistence at these immense elevations. The
notices of the state of literature in Chinese Tartary are also very
interesting. It would appear that when science and letters, flying from
tyranny, abandoned the plains of Hindostan, they took refuge in the
mountains of Thibet, where they have flourished to an extent of which we
have been hitherto little aware. In the Thibetan language an
Encyclopaedia was discovered, of 44 volumes, treating of the arts and
sciences, and the medical part of which work formed five volumes.
Captain Gerard’s brother, Dr. James Gilbert Gerard of the Bengal Medical
Establishment, who accompanied him in many of his excursions and
surveys, had fallen in with a learned Hungarian, named Cosmo de Konas,
who resided in Thibet, and who had made great progress in bringing to
light much curious information respecting that hitherto little known
people. The art of lithography had been practised in the city of Thibet
from time immemorial, and it had been used, amongst other purposes, for
displaying the anatomy of different parts of the human body.
died at Aberdeen December 15, 1839. Soon after his death appeared the
‘Narrative of a Journey from Caunpoor to the Boorendo Pass in the
Himalaya Mountains, by Major Sir William Lloyd; and Captain Alexander
Gerard’s Account of an Attempt to penetrate by Bekhur to Garoo and the
Lake Manasarowara, with a Letter from the late J.G. Gerard, Esq.,
detaining a Visit to the Shatool and Boorendo Passes, edited by George
Lloyd,’ 2 vols. 8vo. 1840.