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The Scottish Nation

DONALDSON, WALTER, a learned professor of the seventeenth century, was a native of Aberdeen. He was in the retinue of Bishop Cunningham of Aberdeen, and Peter Junius, grand almoner of Scotland, when sent on an embassy from King James the Sixth to the court of Denmark and the princes of Germany. Subsequently he returned to the continent, and delivered a course of lectures on moral philosophy at Heidelberg. One of his students having taken notes of these lectures, published them, and several editions of the work were printed both in Germany and Great Britain, under the title of Synopsis moralis Philosophiae. Donaldson was afterwards professor of philosophy and the Greek language, and principal of the university of Sedan, where he remained for sixteen years. He was then invited to open a college at Charenton, but the proposed establishment was objected to as illegal, and was never commenced. [Boyle’s dict. vol. iv. p. 626.] His works are:

      Synopsis Locorum communium, in qua sapientiae humanae imago representatur, &c. Franc. 1612. Her he reduces into common places, and under certain general heads, all that lies scattered in Diogenes Laertius, concerning the same thing. Printed in Greek and Latin.

      Synopsis Economica. Paris, 1620, 8vo. Reprinted Rost. 1624, 8vo.

      Synopsis Philosophiae Moralis, lib. iii. Ex Offic. Palth. 1604, 8vo. Francf. 1622, 12mo.

DONALDSON, JOHN, an eminent but eccentric painter, the son of a glover in Edinburgh, was born there in 1737. He early exhibited an extraordinary talent for drawing, and we are told that before he was twelve years of age he was enabled to contribute to his own support by drawing miniatures in India ink. Removing to London, while yet young, he for some time prosecuted his profession as a miniature painter with remarkable success, both in enamel and water colours. His celebrated historical picture, ‘The Tent of Darius,’ which was purchased by the earl of Buchan, gained him the prize from the society of Arts. He also received prizes from the same society for two paintings in enamel, representing ‘The Death of Dido,’ and ‘The Story of Hero and Leander.’ He occasionally also amused himself with the point, and etched several plates of beggars after Rembrandt. Having, however, become disgusted with his profession, from mistaken notions of philanthropy, he occupied himself almost exclusively in proposing fanciful projects for the improvement of the condition of the human race, in consequence of which his business forsook him, and he was reduced to great misery. He died in the utmost indigence, October 11, 1801, leaving a large quantity of manuscripts in an unfinished state. His only acknowledged works are, ‘An Essay on the Elements of Beauty,’ Edin. 1780, 8vo; and a volume of poems. Mr. Edwards, in his Anecdotes of Painters, ascribes to Donaldson a pamphlet published anonymously, under the title of ‘Critical Observations and Remarks upon the Public Buildings of London.’

DONALDSON, JAMES, a printer of Edinburgh, bequeathed the greater part of his estate, exceeding £200,000, for the endowment and erection of an hospital in that city, for the maintenance of three hundred poor boys and girls. He died in October 1830. Donaldson’s Hospital, which occupies a commanding position at the west end of Edinburgh, is a spacious quadrangular structure, in the Elizabethan style, from a design by W. H. Playfair. It was completed and opened in the end of 1850.

DONALDSON, JOSEPH, author of the ‘Eventful Life of a Soldier,’ and ‘Scenes and Sketches of a Soldier’s Life in Ireland,’ was born in Glasgow towards the end of the last century, but the exact date of his birth is not stated. Having gone over to Paris in 1830, he took an active part in the Revolution of July, and died October 5th of that year, in consequence of disease brought on by his exertions and fatigue on that occasion.

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