Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 05.djvu/109

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Bisset
Bisset
101

the rank of colonel in the East India Company’s service. He was well trained by his father, and then proceeded to Marischal College and University, Aberdeen. At the early age of seventeen, in consequence of the death of his father, he was obliged to assume all the responsibilities of school teaching, and of educating his younger brothers and sisters. Like his father he developed remarkable teaching ability, and his private school became celebrated. Many of the local gentry were educated by him, and not a few of his pupils became men of mark, among them being Sir James Outram and Canon Robertson, the ecclesiastical historian. He was aided by very able assistants; Dr. James Melvin, afterwards rector of Aberdeen Grammar School, and Dr. Adam Thom, sometime recorder of Hudson's Bay Company, were both members of his staff. He qualified himself for the ministry of the church of Scotland, studying divinity at Aberdeen and Edinburgh. In 1826 he became minister of the small parish of Bourtrie, Aberdeenshire. The duties of his limited parochial charge left him leisure to continue his philological studies, as well as to educate his children. He was twice married: (1) in 1829 to Mary Bannerman, eldest daughter of Rev. Robert Sessel of Inverurie; (2) in 1840 to Elizabeth Sinclair, daughter of Rev. William Smith of Bowes. He had issue by both. In 1851 the degree of D.D. was conferred upon him by the university of Aberdeen.

Bisset became an ardent politician on what was designated the ‘constitutional side,’ and ecclesiastically was a prominent figure in the prolonged conflict within and without the church courts which terminated in the founding of the free church of Scotland. Bisset did not support the secession headed by Chalmers and Candlish and Guthrie. In 1862 he was chosen moderator of the general assembly of the church of Scotland. His repute as a scholar was unsustained by any publication of permanent value. He died on 8 Sept. 1872.

[Obituary notices; letters from son and son-in-law and other members of the family.]

A. B. G.

BISSET, Sir JOHN (1777–1854), commissary-general, served in the commissariat at home from 1795 to 1800, in Germany from May 1800 to June 1802, at home from 1802 to 1806, in South. America in 1800-7, and at the Scheldt in 1809. He was appointed commissary-general in Spain in 1811, and had charge of the commissariat of the Duke of Wellngton’s army at one of the most important periods of the Peninsular war, before and atter the battle of Salamanca. Bisset, who was made a knight-bachelor and knight-commander of the Guelphic order in 1830, was the author of a small work entitled ‘Memoranda regarding the Duties of the Commissariat on Field Service abroad’ (London, 1816). He was made K.C.B. in 1850. He died at Perth, N.B., on 3 April 1854.

[War Office Records; Report Select Comm. on Army and Ordnance Expenditure (Commissariat), 1850; Perth Advertiser, April l854.]

H. M. C.

BISSET, BISSAT, or BISSART, PETER (d. 1568), professor of canon law in the university of Bologna, Italy, was a native of the county of Fife, and a descendant by a previous marriage of Sir Thomas Bisset, who after his marriage with the Countess Isabel, daughter and heiress of Duncan MacDuff, earl of Fife, received a charter from David II granting him the earldom, but left no issue by her. After completing his studies in grammar and philosophy at the university of St. Andrews, Bisset attended the classes of law at the university of Paris. Proceeding to Italy he received the degree of LL.D. from the university of Bologna, where he afterwards became professor of civil law. Tanner (Bibliotheca Britannico-Hibernica, 102), on the authority of Dempster (Historia Ecclesiastica Gentis Scotorum, ii. 95), states that he flourished in 1401, a palpable error. He assigns to him, also on the authority of Dempster, ‘De Irregularitate liber unus,’ and ‘Lectiones Seriales liber unus,’ and to a Petrus Bizarrus, who flourished in 1565, ‘Orationes aliquot et poemata.' This Petrus Bizarrus he conjectures to have been possibly identical with Pietro Bizari [q. v.], called also Petrus Perusinus, but in reality Bizarrus here is a misspelt form of Bissartus, and Peter Bisset, the author of ‘De Irregu1aritate,’ is identical with the author of ‘Orationes aliquot et Poemata.’ Both works were included in the volume entitled ‘Patricii Bissarti Opera omnia, viz. Poemata, Orationes, Lectiones Seriales, et Liber de Irregularitate,' published at Venice in 1565. Bisset died in the latter part of 1568.

[Dempster's Historia Ecclesiastia Gentis Scotorum, ii, 95; Tanuer's Bibl. Brit. 102; Mackenzie's Lives of Scottish Writers, iii. 99, 10l; Chambers's Blog. Dict. of Eminent Scotsman, i. 129; Notes and Queries, 5th series, vi. 389-90.]

T. F. H.

BISSET, ROBERT, LL.D. (1759–1805), biographer and historian, born in 1709, was master of an academy in Sloane Street, Chelsea. He published, in 1796, a ‘Sketch