Wallace, James (d.1688) (DNB00)

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Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 59
Wallace, James (d.1688)

by George Stronach
1904 Errata appended.
Contains subarticle James Wallace (fl. 1684–1724).

WALLACE, JAMES (d. 1688), minister of Kirkwall, studied at the university of Aberdeen, where he graduated M.A. on 27 April 1659. He was shortly afterwards appointed minister of Ladykirk in Orkney, from which parish he was translated to Kirkwall on 4 Nov., and admitted on 16 Nov. 1672. On 16 Oct. 1678 he was also collated by Bishop Mackenzie to the prebend of St. John in the cathedral church of St. Magnus-the-Martyr at Kirkwall.

Wallace died of fever in September 1688. He mortified the sum of a hundred merks for the use of the church of Kirkwall, which the kirk session received on 14 July 1689, and applied in purchasing two communion cups inscribed with Wallace's name. He married Elizabeth Cuthbert, and had three sons and a daughter—James (see below), Andrew, Alexander, and Jean.

Wallace is known by his work ‘A Description of the Isles of Orkney. By Master James Wallace, late Minister of Kirkwall. Published after his Death by his Son. To which is added, An Essay concerning the Thule of the Ancients, by Sir Robert Sibbald,’ Edinburgh, 1693, 8vo. The work was dedicated to Sir Robert Sibbald [q. v.] Wallace had originally undertaken his ‘Description’ at the request of Sir Robert, who was designing his general atlas of Scotland. In 1700 Wallace's son James published in his own name ‘An Account of the Islands of Orkney,’ which appeared in London under the auspices of Jacob Tonson [q. v.] This work, which makes no mention of his father's labours, consists of the ‘Description’ of 1693, with some omissions and additions, including a chapter on the plants and shells of the Orkneys. The younger Wallace also suppressed the dedication to Sibbald and the preface, which last gave an account of his father's writings, and coolly substituted an affected dedication from himself to the Earl of Dorset. Both editions are very rare. The original, with illustrative notes, edited by John Small [q. v.], was reprinted at Edinburgh in 1883. ‘An Account from Orkney,’ by James Wallace, larger than what was printed by his son, was sent to Sibbald, who was collecting statistical information regarding the counties of Scotland (Nicholson, Scottish Historical Library, 1702, pp. 20, 53). Wallace was described as ‘a man remarkable for ingenuity and veracity, and he left in manuscript, besides sermons and miscellaneous pieces, “A Harmony of the Evangelists,” “Commonplaces,” a treatise of the ancient and modern church discipline; and when seized with his last illness was engaged writing a refutation of the tenets of popery’ (Scott, Fasti, III. i. 375).

James Wallace (fl. 1684–1724), son of the preceding, was M.D. and F.R.S. (though he does not appear in Thomson's list of fellows), and edited his father's ‘Description’ in 1693 and 1700. In 1700 he contributed to the ‘Transactions’ of the Royal Society ‘A Part of a Journal kept from Scotland to New Caledonia in Darien, with a short Account of that Country’ (Phil. Trans. 1700, pp. 536–43). From a passage in this paper he seems to have been in the East India Company's service. He visited Darien, and gave plants from there to Petiver and Sloane. In the same number of the ‘Transactions’ (pp. 543–6) is given an abstract of the 1700 edition of his father's work. Wallace was also the author of a ‘History of Scotland from Fergus I to the Commencement of the Union,’ Dublin, 1724, 8vo.

[Preface to original edition of Description; introduction to reprint of Description; Peterkin's Rentals; Scott's Fasti; Notes and Queries, 2nd ser. v. 89, vi. 533. For the son, see Notes and Queries, 30 Jan. 1858; introduction to reprint; Phil. Trans. 1700; Britten and Boulger's British and Irish Botanists; Pulteney's Sketches of Progress of Botany; Pritzel's Thesaurus Lit. Botan.; Jackson's Guide to Lit. of Botany.]

G. S-h.

Dictionary of National Biography, Errata (1904), p.273
N.B.— f.e. stands for from end and l.l. for last line

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99 ii 11-15 Wallace, James (d. 1688): omit He was ‘deprived by the council’ ... the revolution of 1688-9.