Reid, John (1808-1841?) (DNB00)

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REID, JOHN (1808–1841?), compiler of ‘Bibliotheca Scoto-Celtica,’ born at Paisley on 2 April 1808, was the second son of John Reid, M.D., by Jean M'Gavin, sister to William M'Gavin [q. v.] of Glasgow. After receiving an education mostly from his father, he was apprenticed to a firm of booksellers in Glasgow. At the end of his apprenticeship he went to London, and entered the service of Messrs. Black & Young, foreign publishers. In a few years he again returned to Glasgow, where he started as bookseller and publisher on his own account. While studying Gaelic in 1825, a friend asked Reid to catalogue his Gaelic books for him. This led to the compilation of the ‘Bibliotheca Scoto-Celtica,’ the manuscript of which accidentally fell into the hands of Sir John Sinclair, bart. [q. v.], in 1827. By him it was brought under the notice of the Highland Society of London, from which it received a premium in 1831. It was published in Glasgow by Reid himself in 1832.

While in Glasgow Reid took considerable interest in social reform and politics. He was a particular friend to the Polish exiles then in this country, and he was one of those active politicians who desired the Earl of Durham to lead a reconstructed radical party in parliament. With this end in view he published in 1835 a sketch of the earl's political career. Owing to his interest in public affairs he had a wide circle of friends, including Lord Dudley Stuart, Sir Daniel Macnee [q. v.] the painter, William Weir, who was latterly editor of the ‘Daily News,’ and William Motherwell [q. v.] the poet.

Reid was fond of travelling, and knew the continent well. In 1838 he went to Turkey on a prolonged visit, and in 1840 published his impressions of the country in ‘Turkey and the Turks, being the Present State of the Ottoman Empire,’ London, 1840. That year he gave up his publishing business in Glasgow and went to Hong Kong to edit an English journal and prepare a Chinese dictionary. He died at Hong Kong in either 1841 or 1842. He married, in 1836, Anne, daughter of Captain John McLaren, High Laws, Berwick, by whom he had one daughter.

Besides the works noticed and contributions to periodical literature, Reid published ‘Illustrations of Social Depravity,’ a series of booklets, Glasgow, 1834; and he prefixed a memoir of William McGavin to the latter's ‘Posthumous Works,’ 1834.

[Preface to Bibl. Scoto-Celtica; information kindly supplied by the Rev. William Reid, D.D., brother to the subject of the memoir.]

J. R. M.