Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography/McGill, James

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McGILL, James, Canadian philanthropist, b. in Glasgow, Scotland, 6 Oct., 1744; d. in Montreal, Canada, 19 Dec., 1813. He received his early education in his native place, and came to Canada before the American Revolution. For some time after his arrival he engaged in the northwest fur-trade, but afterward settled in Montreal, and, in partnership with his brother, Andrew McGill, became one of the chief merchants in that town. He was for many years a member of the Lower Canadian parliament for West Montreal, and afterward a member of the legislative and executive councils. He was lieutenant-colonel and subsequently colonel of the Montreal city militia, and at the beginning of the war of 1812 became brigadier-general, and was prepared in that capacity to take the field. In addition to many other benefits that he conferred upon Montreal, he was mainly instrumental in founding the university that bears his name, and bequeathed to it property that was valued at £30,000 and £10,000 in cash. Owing to the growth of the city, the land has increased greatly in value, and, in consequence of this fact and other bequests and donations that have been received, it is now the most richly endowed university of the Dominion.