Wood, John Philip (DNB00)

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WOOD, JOHN PHILIP (d. 1838), Scottish antiquary and biographer, was descended from an ancient family dwelling in the parish of Cramond, near Edinburgh. In spite of labouring from infancy under the infirmity of being deaf and dumb, he held for many years the office of auditor of excise in Scotland. He was of a studious turn of mind, and his leisure was given to historical and antiquarian lore. In 1791 he published his first literary work, ‘A Sketch of the Life and Projects of John Law of Lauriston, Comptroller-general of the Finances of France’ (Edinburgh, 4to). A new and enlarged edition, entitled ‘Memoirs of the Life of John Law,’ appeared in 1824, called forth by the renewed interest in Law which the extravagance of contemporary commercial speculation aroused. After completing this biography of Law, who like himself was a native of Cramond, Wood brought out in 1794 the first parochial history attempted in Scotland, ‘The Ancient and Modern State of the Parish of Cramond’ (Edinburgh, 4to). His principal work was, however, his edition of the ‘Peerage of Scotland,’ by Sir Robert Douglas [q. v.], which was printed at Edinburgh in two folio volumes in 1813. He had originally intended to bring out a separate peerage for the period between 1707 and 1809, but was persuaded to incorporate his collections with Douglas's work. Wood died at Edinburgh in December 1838. He was the friend of Scott, who styled him ‘honest John Wood,’ and the brother-in-law of Robert Cadell [q. v.], the partner of Archibald Constable [q. v.] He made several contributions to the ‘Gentleman's Magazine,’ and communicated to John Nichols [q. v.] most of the biographical notes to the writers of the poetry comprised in ‘The Muses Welcome to King James,’ printed in the ‘Progresses of King James I.’

[Gent. Mag. 1839, i. 323; Allibone's Dict. of Engl. Lit.; Lockhart's Memoirs of Scott, 1845, p. 706.]

E. I. C.