a surname evidently the plural of the Gaelic Gillie, a servant or
henchman. Mr. Lower (Essays on English Surnames, vol. I. P. 168)
fancifully but erroneously derives it from the baptismal name of Giles.
a lord of session under the title of Lord Gillies, was the youngest son
of Robert Gillies, Esq. of Little Keithock, Forfarshire, and the junior,
by twenty-one years, of his brother, Dr. John Gillies, the historian of
Greece, of whom a memoir is given below. Born at Brechin in 1766, he
passed advocate, 14th July 1787, and was appointed
sheriff-depute of Kincardineshire on 26th March, 1806. He was
raised to the bench of the court of session on 30th November
1811. Opposed as he was to the party then in power, being a Whig in
politics, he owed his appointment entirely to his legal knowledge and
eminence at the bar. In 1812 he was made a lord of justiciary, and on 10th
July 1816, he was nominated one of the lords commissioners of the jury
court. In 1837 he was appointed judge of the court of Exchequer in
Scotland, when he resigned his seat as a lord of justiciary. He died 24th
GILLIES, JOHN, D.D.,
an eminent divine of the Church of Scotland, author of the Life of
Whitfield and several theological works, was born in 1712. He was the
son of the Rev. John Gillies, minister of Caraldstone (now Carriston),
in the presbytery of Brechin, and of Mrs. Mary Watson, his wife,
descended from a respectable family in Galloway. Little is known of his
early history. When a student of divinity, he was successively employed
as a tutor in several families of distinction. He was ordained one of
the ministers of Glasgow, July 29, 1742. Though greatly addicted to
literary pursuits, he did not permit them to encroach upon his
ministerial or other duties. One of his most favourite books was
Milton’s ‘Paradise Lost,’ the greater par of which he could repeat by
generally delivering three discourses every Sabbath, several years of
Dr. Gillies’ life were distinguished by his instituting public lectures
and serious exhortations, twice and often thrice every week. For some
time he published a religious weekly paper, addressed to the consciences
and hearts of his people; which was productive of much good in awakening
the attention of many to what concerned their spiritual welfare. Having
been fifty-four years minister of one church, he had baptized and
married the larger portion of his congregation. He died March 29, 1796.
He was twice married: first, to Elizabeth, eldest daughter of the Rev.
John M’Laurin of Glasgow, who died soon after the birth of her eighth
child, August 6, 1754; and, secondly, to Joanna, youngest daughter of
John Stewart, Esq., and twin sister of Sir Michael Stewart of Blackhall,
baronet. Their only child, Rebecca, was married to the Hon. Colonel
David Leslie, second son of the earl of Leven. A brief sketch of Dr.
Gillies’ life and character, drawn up by his friend, Dr. Erskine, of Old
Greyfriars parish, Edinburgh, will be found inserted in the Supplement
to Dr. Gillies’ ‘Historical Collections,’ edited and published by Dr.
Erskine in 1796.
Collections of the Success of the Gospel. Glasgow, 1754, 2 vols. 8vo.
Exercises on the New Testament. London, 1769, 8vo. New edition 1810.
Memoirs of the
Life of the Rev. George Whitfield, M.A. London, 1772, 8vo. Dedicated to
the Countess of Huntingdon. 2d edition, 1812, 8vo.
Essays on the
Prophecies relating to the Messiah. Edin. 1773, 8vo.
Paradise Lost, illustrated with texts of Scripture, London, 1788. 12mo.
GILLIES, JOHN, LL.D.,
an eminent historian, and king’s “Historiographer for Scotland,’ son of
Robert Gillies, Esq. of Little Keithock, Forfarshire, and elder brother
of Lord Gillies, a lord of session, mentioned above, was born at Brechin,
Forfarshire, on January 18, 1747. He received his education at the
university of Glasgow, where he was patronized by Principal Leechman and
Professor Moore, from the latter of whom he is believed to have imbibed
his admiration of Greek learning, and his knowledge of Greek literature.
While yet under twenty years of age, he was chosen to teach the Greek
class, on the illness and decline of the then aged professor of Greek in
that university. He soon, however, resigned that appointment, and went
to London, with the view of making literature his sole pursuit. In
furtherance of this object, he spent some time at Paris and other parts
of the continent, in acquiring facility in the modern languages. Soon
after his return, being yet a young man, John, the second earl of
Hopetoun, to whom he had been introduced by his eldest son, Lord Hope,
(afterwards third earl of Hopetoun) invited him to travel with his
second son, Henry; and, as he was induced, for that purpose, to
relinquish some honourable and lucrative literary engagements, he
lordship settled upon him, in 1777, an annuity for life.
charge, Henry Hope, having died at Lyons, Mr. Gillies returned home; and
in a few years went again to the continent with the earl’s younger sons,
John, afterwards the celebrated military commander, Sir John Hope, Baron
Niddry, and earl of Hopetoun; and Alexander, afterwards Sir Alexander
Hope, G.C.B., lieutenant-governor of Chelsea Hospital. Mr. Gillies
returned to England with his companions in 1784, when he resumed his
literary labours, and took his degree of LL.D., previously to the
publication of the first part of his ‘History of Ancient Greece,’ which
appeared in 1786, and immediately became a standard work. In 1792 he
married, and the following year, on the death of his friend Dr.
Robertson, Dr. Gillies was appointed Historiographer to the King for
Scotland. He died at Clapham, February 5, 1836, in the 90th
year of his age. He was F.R.S., F.A.S., and a member of many foreign
His works are:
Isocrates, and those of Lysias, translated, with some account of their
Lives, and a Discourse on the History, Manners, and Character of the
Greeks, from the conclusion of the Peloponnesian war, to the battle of
Chaeronea. London, 1778, 4to. The success of this work prompted him to
prosecute still farther his studies in Grecian literature and history.
Ancient Greece, its Colonies and Conquests, from the earliest accounts
till the division of the Macedonian Empire in the East, including the
History of Philosophy, Literature, and the Fine Arts; with maps. London.
1786, 2 vols. 4to; also in 4 vols, 8vo.
Ethics and Politics; comprising his Practical Philosophy, translated
from the Greek. Illustrated by Introductions and Notes, the Critical
History of his Life, and a New Analysis of his Speculative Works.
London, 1786-97, 2 vols. 4to. 2d edition 1804, 2 vols. 8vo.
the Analysis of Aristotle’s Speculative Works. London, 1804, 4to.
A View of the
Reign of Frederick II. Of Prussia; with a Parallel between that Prince
and Philip II. Of Macedon. London, 1789, 8vo.
History of the
World from the reign of Alexander to that of Augustus, comprehending the
latter ages of Europe, Greece, and the History of the Greek Kingdoms in
Asia and Africa, from their foundation to their destruction. With a
Preliminary Survey of Alexander’s conquests, and an estimate of his
plans for their consolidation and improvement. Lond. 1807-1810, 2 vols.
Aristotle’s Rhetoric, translated. London, 1823, 8vo.