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Significant Scots
James More


MOOR, JAMES, LL.D., an eminent Greek scholar, was the son of Mr Robert Muir, schoolmaster in Glasgow; a person of considerable learning, and of such unwearied industry, that, being too poor to purchase Newton’s Principia, he copied the whole book with his own hand. The subject of this notice entered the university of Glasgow in 1725, and distinguished himself by great industry and capacity as a student. After finishing his academical course, and taking the degree of M.A., with considerable applause, he taught a school for some time in Glasgow. This situation he seems to have abandoned, in order to become tutor to the earls of Selkirk and Errol, in which capacity he traveled abroad. He was afterwards in the family of the earl of Kilmarnock; and on the burning of Dean Castle, which took place in his absence, lost a considerable stock of books, which he had employed himself in collecting for his own use. Without the knowledge of the earl, Moor instructed lord Boyd in Greek, so that the young nobleman was able to surprise his father one day by reading, at his tutor’s desire, one of the odes to Anacreon. In 1742, he was appointed librarian to the university of Glasgow; and in July, 1746, became professor of Greek in the same institution, the earl of Selkirk advancing him 600 pounds, in order to purchase the resignation of the preceding incumbent. On the condemnation of his patron, the earl of Kilmarnock, for his concern in the insurrection of 1745, Moor, who was of opposite politics, made a journey to London, for the purpose of making interest with the ministers for his lordship’s pardon; an enterprise honourable to his feelings, however unsuccessful.

Moor was a useful professor, and, besides his academical duties, conferred some benefits on the literary world by his publications. In company with professor Muirhead, he superintended, at the request of the university, a very splendid edition of Homer, published by the Foulises of Glasgow. He also edited their Herodotus, and was of service in several of their other publications. Some essays, read by him before the Literary Society (of Glasgow), of which he was a constituent member, were collected and published, in 8vo, in 1759. In 1766, he published "A Vindication of Virgil from the charge of Puerility, imputed to him by Dr Pearce," 12 mo. His principal work, however, was his Grammar of the Greek Language, which has ever since been very extensively used in schools. He collected a large and valuable library, and selected a cabinet of medals, which the university afterwards purchased. In 1761, he was appointed vice-rector of the college, by the earl of Errol, the lord rector, who, under the designation of lord Boyd, had formerly been his pupil. In 1763, he applied to the university for the degree of Doctor of Laws, which was granted to him, in consideration of his talents and services. Dr Moor was addicted to the cultivation of light literature, and used to amuse himself and his friends, by writing verses in the Hudibrastic vein. He resigned his chair in 1774, on account of bad health, and died on the 17th of September, 1779.


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